William & Mary

British and Colonial Antecedents of American Liberties:

An exhibition of rare books on early American law from the collection of Sid Lapidus at the Wolf Law Library, William & Mary Law School, October 1, 2019 – March 15, 2020


Arbitrium Redivivum (1694)

This title, the first book on the English law of arbitration and awards, anticipated the statute of 1697–1698 that encouraged merchants to submit to arbitration rather than the courts. Precedents form nearly a third of the slim volume in the only edition published. Arbitrium Redivivum was surpassed in the eighteenth century by the works of Mathew Bacon and Stewart Kyd. This copy features ink notes written by a former owner on the front free endpaper and verso.

Arbitrium Redivivum: Or the Law of Arbitration, Collected from the Law–Books Both Ancient and Modern, and Deduced to These Times: Wherein the Whole Learning of Awards or Arbitrements is Methodically Treated. London: Printed by the Assigns of Rich. and Edw. Atkins for Isaac Cleeve, 1694.

Front free endpaper, Arbitrium Redivivum, 1694.

Verso, front free endpaper, Arbitrium Redivivum, 1694.

Consuetudo, vel, Lex Mercatoria (1622)

Gerard Malynes (1585–1641) first published his popular book on commercial law and commerce in 1622. He divides his work into three parts: commodities, money, and bills of exchange. An eminently useful book, Consuetudo captures the developing practices of mercantile law in the seventeenth century. In doing so, it relies heavily on civil law and the practical experience of the author. A total of four editions were published, the last in 1686.

Malynes, Gerard. Consuetudo, vel, Lex Mercatoria: or, the Ancient Law-Merchant. Divided into Three Parts, According to the Essential Parts of Traffick Necessary for All Statesmen, Judges, Magistrates, Temporal and Civil Lawyers, Mint–Men, Merchants, Mariners, and all Others Negotiating in All Places of the World. [Bound incorrectly with a title page from a 1685 edition]. London: Printed by Adam Islip, 1622 or 1628.

Dedication, Gerard Malynes, Consuetudo, vel, Lex Mercatoria, 1622.