A Landmark in the Development of the Common Law Townesend, George, Compiler. Tables to Most of the Printed Presidents of Pleadings, Writs, and Retorn of Writs, at the Common Law. London: Printed by John Streater, James Flesher, and Henry Twyford, 1667. [viii], 554 pp. Main text in parallel columns. Folio (11-1/4" x 7-1/2"). Contemporary calf, blind rules to boards, raised bands and recent period-style lettering piece to spine, gilt tooling to board edges, recent repair to front joint. A few minor spots and nicks, moderate rubbing to extremities, corners bumped and somewhat worn, pastedowns loose. Moderate toning to text, minor worming to final 20 leaves. Early owner signature ("Dan. Fleming") to front pastedown and title page, brief annotations in a few places. $950. * Only edition. This is an important master index to precedents in Coke, Crompton, Dalton, Fitzherbert, Plowden, Pulton and many other principal works. It is also a landmark in the development of the common law. When pleading became a distinct profession, the literature on pleadings grew accordingly, which created a need for an index that was fulfilled by this book. Townesend, a clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, compiled it in the country after he fled London during the Great Plague. As he states in his preface, the book was both a pastime and a way to take his mind away from thoughts of the plague's devastation [iii]. Considered a great authority, it was known in the profession as "Townesends' Presidents." A continuation volume by James Cornwall entitled Tables to the Modern Printed Presidents was published in 1705. English Short-Title Catalogue R18122.
Book number 68769