A General Abridgment of Cases in Equity: Argued and Adjudged in the High Court of Chancery, &c.
By a Gentleman of the Middle Temple
|A General Abridgment of Cases in Equity|
Title page from A General Abridgment of Cases in Equity, volume one, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.
|Author||Attributed variously to Robert Foley, Sir Geoffrey Gilbert, Matthew Bacon, and Henry Pooley|
|Published||In the Savoy: H.Lintot|
|Volumes||2 volume set|
|Desc.||Folio (37 cm.)|
Considered the "most important" of the equity abridgments of the eighteenth century, Equity Cases Abridged was mostly likely written by Matthew Bacon, author of A New Abridgment of the Law. "The evidence for this fact is partly indirect—cases from Equity Cases Abridged are copied literally in Bacon's Abridgment; and partly direct—Sir William Lee stated in his copy of Equity Cases Abridged that it was written by Bacon." Others have attributed at least the first volume to Henry Pooley. The two volumes enjoy divergent reputations. The cases in volume one "are reported by a good lawyer, who understood perfectly well the decisions he was reporting; and the volume often renders clear and sensible cases which in Vernon are unintelligible or very improbable." The second volume "stands less well than the 1st. It was spoken of disrespectfully ..."
Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library
Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Ca. in Eq.abridged. 2.v. fol." and given by Thomas Jefferson to Dabney Carr. The 1756 edition is the first two volume folio edition, although we cannot be certain which edition Wythe owned. Three of the Wythe Collection sources (Dean's Memo, Brown's Bibliography and George Wythe's Library on LibraryThing) list the 1756 (fourth) edition, which is the one acquired by the Wolf Law Library.
Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy
Bound in contemporary calf with tooled edge on cover near spine. Rebacked in period-style calf with red morocco, gilt-lettered labels.
- W. S. Holdsworth, A History of English Law, (London: Methuen & Co., Sweet and Maxwell, 1938), 12:171.
- Ibid., 172.
- John William Wallace, The Reporters, Arranged and Characterized with Incidental Remarks, 4th ed., (Boston: Soule and Bugbee, 1882), 490.
- Ibid., 491.
- Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 11 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
- Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433.
- LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on June 28, 2013.