Rare Manuscript Report of a Historic Case Concerning Original Jurisdiction [Manuscript]. [Trial]. [Skinner's Case]. [Report of Thomas Skinner v East India Company]. [London, 1668]. 11-3/4" x 7-3/4" disbound bifolium, text in a single neat hand to rectos and versos of both leaves. Moderate toning and light soiling, horizontal and vertical fold lines, a few small chips and short tears along folds, top-edges trimmed touching text, legibility not affected. $2,500. * This contemporary record may have been prepared for one of the manuscript newsletter services of this period, which avoided the censorship imposed on publications. Portions of the text appear in a collection of contemporary manuscript minutes of the House of Lords held by Parliament and later reconstructed, but much of the content is apparently unique. The work of an observer, it reports the second phase, in the House of Lords, of Skinner's Case, a constitutionally important dispute between the House of Lords and the House of Commons over original jurisdiction in civil suits. This case was the talk of London. Samuel Pepys, to name a famous contemporary, referred to it three times in his diary entries for Friday 1 May, Tuesday 5 May and Saturday 9 May 1668. The East India Company seized the ships, cargoes and trading post of Thomas Skinner, a London merchant trading in India. In 1668 Skinner presented a petition to Charles II seeking redress for his losses, noting that he was trading in India before the establishment of the East India Company. The king referred the case to the House of Lords, which ruled in his favor and awarded him ?5,000 in damages. The Company complained to the House of Commons, which ruled that the Lord's proceedings were illegal. After the two houses failed to resolve the question of ultimate legal authority, the Commons had Skinner arrested and imprisoned for breach of privilege. The Lords responded by fining and imprisoning Sir Samuel Barnardiston, the Company's chairman. This constitutional stand-off was only resolved by the king's intervention in 1669, who ordered the two Houses to end proceedings and erase all mention of the case from their records. (The records of the House of Lords were indeed expunged, but deciphered and reprinted for the first time by the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts in 1881.) Afterwards, it was tacitly.
Book number 74396