First Selden Edition of Fortescue's De Laudibus Fortescue, Sir John [1394?-1476?] [Selden, John (1584-1654), Editor]. [Mulcaster, Robert, Translator and Editor]. De Laudibus Legum Angliae Writen by Sir Iohn Fortescue L. Ch. Iustice, and After L. Chancellor to K. Henry VI. Hereto are Ioind the Two Summes of Sir Ralph de Hengham L. Ch. Iustice to K. Edward I. Commonly Calld Hengham Magna, And Hengham Parva. Never Before Publisht. Notes Both on Fortescue and Hengham are Added. London: Printed [by Adam Islip] for the Companie of Stationers, 1616. [viii], 132,  ff.; 56, , 35, 34-159,  pp. Lacking first leaf, blank except for a small paragraph symbol on the recto, and the last leaf, a blank. Two parts, each with title page and individual pagination. First part in parallel columns; Latin with running English translation. Texts of Summes in Latin with notes in English. Octavo (5-1/2" x 3-1/2"). Contemporary calf with later rebacking, blind rules to boards, blind fillets along joints, gilt-decorated raised bands, gilt ornaments and gilt title to spine, endpapers renewed. Light rubbing, corners bumped and somewhat worn, armorial bookplate to front pastedown, front hinge partially cracked. Light toning to text, somewhat heavier in places, faint stains and light edgewear to a few leaves. Early owner signature in tiny hand to head of title page, brief early annotations to a few leaves. $950. * First Selden edition. De Laudibus Legum Angliae, a history of English law, was written for the instruction of Edward, the young Prince of Wales. Cast in dialogue form, it demonstrates that the common law was the oldest and most reasonable legal system in Europe. It also compares the common and Roman systems and extols the superiority of a constitutionally limited monarchy. De Laudibus was written around 1470 and first printed in 1567. Selden's was the first critical edition of this work, perhaps the first critical edition of an early English legal work. Aside from their value to the elucidation of Fortescue's text, Selden's notes interrogate aspects of Fortescue's text and offer rich insights into jurisprudence and the nature of the English constitution. As noted by Christianson, his conclusions disputed "the concept of immemorial custom argued by [Sir John] Davies and the anachronistic historical i.
Book number 68170