The First American Legal Text Swift, Zephaniah [1759-1823]. A System of the Laws of the State of Connecticut. In Six Books. Windham, CT: Printed by John Byrne for the Author, 1795-1796. Two volumes. vii [i.e. iv], 452; v, , 479,  pp. Folding copperplate table of descents. 6 pp. subscriber list at end of Volume II. Octavo (8-1/4" x 4-3/4"). Later three-quarter sheep over marbled boards, blind fillets and black-stamped titles and publication dates to spines, edges speckled. Moderate rubbing to boards and extremities, rear joints starting slightly at head, front joint of Volume II starting at foot, corners bumped and worn, front hinge of Volume I starting, front hinge of Volume II cracked, faint offsetting and dampstains to endleaves. Very light browning to interiors, occasional light foxing, faint dampstaining in a few places, a few leaves in each volume extending beyond text block but secure, small tear to head of leaves Dd2-Ee1 (pp. 203-210) affecting headline and first two lines of text block without loss to legibility, a few corners in each volume folded and untrimmed, small holes to lower corner of leaf Mmm3 (pp. 453-454) of Volume II not affecting text. $1,500. * First edition. Structured in the manner of Blackstone's Commentaries, Swift's System was the first original American legal treatise. It presented an overview of the common law of Connecticut, and the common law generally, based on local court decisions and legislation. "More than a hundred years later it was still cited by Connecticut courts" (Woxland and Ogden). The work was highly regarded outside of Connecticut. Published on a subscription basis, its subscribers included, among other notables, George Washington, John Adams, Aaron Burr, James Kent and James Madison. Woxland and Ogden, Landmarks in American Legal Publishing 22. Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 5628.
Book number 73533