The First English Law Dictionary [Rastell, John (d. 1536)]. [Rastell, William (1508?-1565). Editor]. Les Termes de la Ley: Or, Certain Difficult and Obscure Words and Terms of the Common Laws and Statutes of This Realm Now in Use, Expounded and Explained. Now Corrected and Enlarged. With Many Great and Useful Additions Throughout the whole Book, Never Printed in Any Other Impression. London: Printed by Samuel Roycroft and James Rawlins, 1708. [iv], 556 [i.e.598] pp. Parallel Law French and English texts. Octavo (7-1/2" x 4-1/2"). Contemporary paneled calf, raised bands and recent lettering piece to spine, early repair to head of spine. Light rubbing and a few shallow scuffs, moderate rubbing to extremities, corners bumped and somewhat worn, front hinge cracked. Moderate toning to text, occasional dampspotting, occasional faint dampstaining to margins. $450. * Corrected and greatly enlarged with Law French and an English translation in Parallel columns. First published in 1527, originally composed in French, with a Latin title page, Expositiones Terminorum Legum Anglorumae. The first English law dictionary, it "reflects the common law at the close of the year-book period with much fidelity.": Marvin, Legal Bibliography 599. The Rastells' work is notable in several ways. First, it is a lexicographic landmark because it antedates by 11 years the first general English dictionary, written by Sir Thomas Elyot. Second, for the its time it was a sophisticated piece of lexicography that would provide definitions for legal terms in other dictionaries for generations to come. (John Bullokar (1616), Thomas Blount (1656), Edward Phillips (1658) and Henry Cockeram (1670) borrowed heavily from Rastell - and through the 18th century still other writers borrowed from them). Third, the side by side translations marked a typographic innovation for dictionary-makers; apart from the typefaces, the columns look surprisingly modern more than 400 years later. Fourth, the dictionary had an extraordinary life through 29 editions that spanned a period of 292 years (the final American edition having appeared in 1819) - a longevity that few if any other lawbook can rival." Bryan A. Garner. Garner on Language and Writing. English Short-Title Catalogue T59645.
Book number 67364