The Nature and Practice of Real Actions: In Their Writs and Process, Both Original and Judicial

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by George Booth

The Nature and Practice of Real Actions

Title page from The Nature and Practice of Real Actions, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author George Booth
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed by the assigns of Richard and Edward Atkins, Esquires, for Awnsham and John Churchil
Date 1701
Edition First
Language English
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages [4], 297, [25]
Desc. Folio (32 cm.)
Location Shelf K-5
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

The Nature and Practice of Real Actions, written by George Booth, was first published in 1701. The work is a “comprehensive straightforward statement of a difficult branch of the law” containing writs and pleadings on the subject of real actions.[1] In addition, "the large mass of learning on the subject of these actions, to be found in the Year Book and later cases, is set out accurately and succinctly."[2] The Nature and Practice of Real Actions was one of the first books on the procedures for these actions. The book laid out the various rules governing pleadings, and helped make these rules public knowledge.[3] While some historians have found the book "invaluable,"[4] others have described it as "an imperfect and unsatisfactory book" while admitting "for want of a better treatise upon the subject, [it] 'is even cited as an authoritative compilation.'"[5]

Manuscript marginalia, page 98.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

The Brown Bibliography[6] suggests Wythe owned this title based on quotations in the manuscript version of John Marshall's law notes. Brown lists the first edition (1701) because Thomas Jefferson sold a copy of the first edition to the Library of Congress in 1815.[7] The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the same edition.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in modern quarter calf with gilt. Said to be Beaumont Hotham's copy, with two substantive notations on his own rulings. Purchased from Meyer Boswell Books, Inc.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

See also


  1. William Holdsworth, A History of English Law (London: Methuen & Co., Sweet and Maxwell, 1938), 12: 368.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. J. G. Marvin, Legal Bibliography or a Thesaurus of American, English, Irish, and Scotch Law Books (Philadelphia: T. & J. W. Johnson, Law Booksellers, 1847), 134.
  6. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  7. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 2:279 [no.1908].