A System of the Laws of the State of Connecticut, In Six Books
by Swift, Zephaniah
1795. The First American Legal Text [C] Swift, Zephaniah [1759-1823]. A System of the Laws of the State of Connecticut. In Six Books. Windham: Printed by John Byrne for the Author, 1795-1796. Two volumes. [iv]-vii, 452; v, 479,  pp. Folding copperplate table of descents. Octavo (8-3/4" x 5"). Contemporary tree sheep, gilt bands, red and black lettering pieces to spines, black lettering piece (indicating volume number) lacking from Volume II. Moderate rubbing to extremities, a few minor nicks to boards, chipping to head of Volume II, joints starting, corners bumped and lightly worn, hinges cracked. Moderate toning to text, light foxing in a few places, faint dampstaining to a few leaves. Owner signatures of William Law and "J. Law" to front endleaves, some leaves have extensive annotations in William Law's Hand, several leaves, including the rear endleaves of Volume I, have markings in pencil or ink. $950. * First edition. Structured in the manner of Blackstone's Commentaries, Swift's System was the first original American legal treatise. Hhighly regarded throughout the United States, it presented an overview of the common law of Connecticut, and the common law generally, based on local court decisions and legislation. "More than a hundred years later it was still cited by Connecticut courts" (Woxland and Ogden). Published on a subscription basis, its subscribers included George Washington, John Adams, Aaron Burr, James Kent, James Madison and other notables. This book probably belonged to William Law, Jr., a lawyer and merchant active in Connecticut and New York City. He was a lawyer and land agent in the Western Reserve from 1798 to 1800. The annotations include a list of law titles on a rear endleaf, which may have been a reading list or inventory. Woxland and Ogden, Landmarks in American Legal Publishing 22. Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 5628.
(Inventory #: 66261)
Law & Legal History, International Law, Trials, Americana, Criminology, Early Printed Law Books, Legal Ephemera, Manuscripts: Law, Political Science
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