A Low Point in Somers's Career Somers, John, Baron [1651-1716]. The Argument of the Lord Keeper Sommers, On His Giving Judgment in the Bankers Case: Deliver'd in the Exchequer-Chamber, June 23, 1696. [London]: Printed by E. and R. Nutt, and R. Gosling, 1733. [ii], 128 pp. Quarto (8" x 7"). Stab-stitched pamphlet bound into recent marbled boards, printed paper title label to spine. Soiling to title page and verso of final leaf, light foxing to a few leaves. Early shelf label to head of title page, annotations to two leaves, interior otherwise clean. $600. * Only edition and the only complete account. This case was an unfortunate moment in Somers's otherwise brilliant career. (He was an important Whig jurist, Lord Chancellor during the reigns of William & and Mary and Queen Anne and framer of the English Bill of Rights). "In the most important case which came before him in the exchequer chamber, that of the bankers who had recovered judgment in the court of exchequer for arrears of interest due to them as assignees of certain perpetual annuities charged by Charles II upon the hereditary excise as security for advances, he expended some hundreds of pounds and an immense amount of thought and research, with no better result than to defeat an intrinsically just claim, on the technical ground that it was not cognisable in the court of exchequer, but only by petition of right. No judgment so elaborate had ever been delivered in Westminster Hall as that by which, in November 1696, he reversed the decision of the court of exchequer.": (DNB). This decision was reversed by the House of Lords three years later. Despite Somers's importance, few accounts of his legal work exist today; it is known mostly through summaries. OCLC locates 7 copies in North American law libraries. Dictionary of National Biography XVIII:632. English Short-Title Catalogue T79392.
Book number 57196