An Important Set of Reports that Includes the Landmark Somerset Case and an Appendix of Maxims Lofft, Capel. Reports of Cases Adjudged in the Court Of King's Bench from Easter Term 12 Geo. 3. To Michaelmas 14 Geo. 3 (Both Inclusive). With Some Select Cases in the Court of Chancery, And of the Common Pleas, Which are Within the Same Period. To Which is Added, the Case of General Warrants, And a Collection of Maxims. London: Printed by W. Strahan and M. Woodfall, 1776. [ii],xx,, 19, , 814, 43,  pp. Pagination irregular, text complete. Folio (12-1/4" x 8"). Recent quarter morocco over marbled boards, lettering piece and blind fillets to spine, endpapers renewed. Moderate toning, faint dampspotting in places, moderate browning to title page. $750. * Only edition (later reprinted in Dublin in 1790). A very important collection of reports heard before Lord Mansfield from 1772 to 1774. It is notable on several accounts, foremost being its unique coverage of the full proceedings in the case Somerset v. Stewart (1772). The first major legal victory for the British abolitionist movement, it established the fundamental illegality of slavery under the laws of England. Also included (retrospectively) is the case of Wilkes v. Wood (1763), in which John Wilkes won a precedent-setting suit involving in the illegal seizure of Wilkes's papers during Wilkes' prosecution for the publication of North Briton No. 45. Wallace, in an otherwise uncomplimentary review, concedes that Lofft's reports "embraced a portion of Lord Mansfield's judicial life not covered by any other reporter," and that Lofft was the only reporter to preserve a record of the Somerset case. Hargrave's argument in defense of Somerset was published separately in pamphlet form in 1772, but for the proceedings as a whole, Lofft's report remains the sole printed source. Appended to the reports is an original collection of 652 Latin maxims followed by a useful 60-page index. Lofft had a distinguished career as a radical Whig statesman whose sympathy with the colonies made him a prominent opponent of the American War. He also took part in the agitation against slavery and served alongside Cartwright as an advocate of English constitutional reform. Wallace, The Reporters 452. English Short-Title Catalogue T97779.
Book number 69293