In English, Please? [Great Britain]. An Act for Turning the Books of the Law, And All Proces and Proceedings in Courts of Justice, Into English. [London: Printed by Edward Husband and John Field, Printers to the Parliament of England, 1650]. 1097-1099,  pp. [With] An Additional Act Concerning the Proceedings of the Law in English. [London: Printed by John Field, Printer to the Parliament of England, 1651]. 1339-1341,  pp. Page 1340 misnumbered 1339. Folio (10-3/4" x 7"). Disbound, woodcut Parliamentary arms and large woodcut initials. Moderate toning, negligible light foxing, faint offsetting to last (blank) page of first act, small faint dampstain to top-edge of second act. Housed in modern 13-3/4" x 9-3/4" buckram folder with printed label to spine. $1,500. * The sweeping legislation forbidding the use of Law French and Latin in court proceedings and records and mandating translation of existing records. Earlier attempts at reform "had been directed principally at the language of oral pleading. The new law omitted the preambles of the old one, accepted its premises, and ordered a clean sweep--without the former exceptions--of everything but English in all law writings and proceedings" (Mellinkoff). The legal profession did not receive this widely ridiculed guidance with enthusiasm, but grudgingly submitted until the Restoration overturned Commonwealth-era legislation. The issue would not be revisited until the Proceedings in Courts of Justice Act of 1730, which finally mandated the use of English in all English courts except the exchequer. Acts such as these were issued individually over the course of a session and bound afterwards. They were issued with general title pages, which were often discarded as in the examples here. Mellinkoff, The Language of the Law 127. English Short-Title Catalogue R209271, R209308.
Book number 74435