Les Reports des Divers Special Cases Argue & Adjudge en le Court del Bank le Roy et Auxy en le Co. Ba. & l'Exchequer

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by Thomas Siderfin

Siderfin's Reports

Title page from Les Reports des Divers Special Cases, two volumes in one, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Thomas Siderfin
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed by W. Ralins, S. Roycroft, and H. Sawbridge, assigns of Richard and Edward Atkins for Samuel Keble
Date 1683-1684
Edition First
Language English
Volumes 2 volumes in 1 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. Folio (32 cm.)
Location Shelf E-5
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]
Initial capital, first page of text, volume one.
Little is known about Thomas Siderfin. Roger North writes in his Life of Lord Keeper Guilford, "This Mr. Siderfin was a Somersetshire gentleman, and proved a very good lawyer, as the book (two volumes in folio) of Reports of his show. But he was not a better lawyer than a kind and good-natured friend, having very good qualities under a rustic behavior and more uncouth physiognomy."[1]

Siderfin's Reports, published posthumously, includes "some cases not very intelligible; some, too, perhaps wrongly reported."[2] The quality of the two parts is strongly divergent. The first part, thought by some to be the only part ever intended by the author for publication,[3] covers cases from 1660 to 1670. The second part reports cases from 1657 to 1659. Cases from the latter caused one justice to remark that the volume was "fit to be burned."[4].

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

There is no doubt that George Wythe owned the first edition (1683-1684) of Siderfin's Reports. A copy of volume two at the Library of Congress includes his bookplate.[5] Also listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Siderfin’s [rep] fol." This was one of the books kept by Thomas Jefferson. All four of the Wythe Collection sources (Goodwin's pamphlet[6], Dean's Memo[7], Brown's Bibliography[8] and George Wythe's Library[9] on LibraryThing) list the first edition of Siderfin's Reports. While all four sources note that the Library of Congress copy was rebound, LibraryThing adds "Jefferson's 1783 catalog (page 124) and the Wythe List indicate that this title was in one volume, so perhaps a portion of the work was lost in rebinding, or Jefferson originally sold another copy to Congress." The Wolf Law Library moved a copy of the first edition from another rare books collection to the George Wythe Collection.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound recently in blind calf with gold tooled label; includes signature on title page: "[Gwynd Hany?]". Purchased through the generosity of Daniel W. Baran and Lena Stratton Baran, Class of 1936.

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. John William Wallace, The Reporters, Arranged and Characterized with Incidental Remarks, 4th ed.(Boston: Soule and Bugbee, 1882), 295.
  2. Ibid., 297.
  3. Ibid., 296.
  4. Ibid., 195.
  5. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 2:339 [no.2059].
  6. Mary R. M. Goodwin, The George Wythe House: Its Furniture and Furnishings (Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, 1958), L.
  7. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 6, 14 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  8. 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.
  9. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on March 4, 2014.