Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia

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by Daniel Call

Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia

Title page from Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, volume one, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Daniel Call
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published Richmond: Printed by Thomas Nicholson
Date 1801-1805
Edition First
Language {{{lang}}}
Volumes 3 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. 8vo (21 cm.)
Location Shelf G-4
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Daniel Call was born May 5, 1765, the supposed son of William Call, a county lieutenant in the American Revolution. He studied law in the 1780s under the guidance of George Wythe. Soon after, Call began practicing in some Petersburg courts and in the surrounding towns. In June of 1791 he met the requirements to practice in the Virginia Court of Appeals. Professionally, Call was known as an attorney and court reporter. As an attorney he concentrated on land and equity law.

Call was best known for publishing case law from the Commonwealth of Virginia. A small number of published records from Virginia's highest court, and no official law reports existed in Virginia before 1820. Call took on the daunting task of compiling copies of opinions, case notes, his own documents, and documents from judges and fellow lawyers to create precedent for the Virginia courts.[1]

Call was the reporter of six volumes of Virginia law in total.[2] The first three volumes of his collection, namely Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, covered case law from 1797 to 1803. He published three more volumes in 1833 that covered cases from the first Court of Appeals and several decisions from the United States Circuit Court.[3] The fourth volume of the second edition contains Call's biography of Wythe.[4]

Call used information from his colleague St. George Tucker to bridge the gaps in the collection created by unreported Court of Appeals cases, using Tucker’s notes primarily in the latter three volumes.[5] The last of the volumes was dedicated to judges of the Court of Appeals and bid farewell to his colleagues. Call died May 20, 1840 and was buried next to his good friend John Marshall.[6]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

George Wythe definitely owned the first edition of this title—Daniel Call dedicated the reports to George Wythe in volume one:


To the Honorable GEORGE WYTHE, Esq.
Judge of the High Court of Chancery.


IN thus publicly addressing to you, I am, not influenced by views of private interest, but an unaffected desire of manifesting my esteem for a benefactor; to whom I own the little knowledge I possess; and whose kindness has always been remembered with gratitude.

It occurred to me, that whilst your ingenious labours were employed in administering justice, with honour, integrity and ability, in that Court where you so eminently preside, it could not be indifferent to you, that your fellow citizens at large, should be informed of the true exposition of those laws which are to regulate their conduct through life; and therefore that you would pardon me for prefixing, without your knowledge, this small tribute of respect to a work, which is intended to convey to the public a faithful report of the opinions and decisions of the highest tribunal in the state, upon some important points of Law and Equity. Under these impressions I have acted; and I trust the motive will be a sufficient excuse.

Permit me to add a sincere prayer, that you may long live to serve your Country, with those useful virtues and talents, which adorn the Bench and cast a luster over your private life.

I am sir,
your most Obt. Servant.

The Library of Congress owns volume one of the dedication copy given to Wythe. The volume includes the inscription "From the Author, with the most affectionate regard and the profoundest respect, to the Honorable George Wythe Esquire."[7] Thomas Jefferson listed this title in his inventory of Wythe's Library as "Call’s reports. 2.v. 8vo." He kept the volume and later sold it to the Library of Congress. Wythe quotes directly from volume three for his pamphlet, The Case of Overtons Mill: Prolegomena. Three of the George Wythe Collection sources (Dean's Memo[8], Brown's Bibliography[9] and George Wythe's Library[10] on LibraryThing) include Call's Reports based on the copy at the Library of Congress. The Wolf Law Library moved a copy of volume one from an existing rare book collection and purchased copies of volumes two and three.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Volume one recently rebound in period style, full calf with red and black labels. Title page includes the inscription "Nicholas Vanstavern." Volumes two and three in contemporary full calf with original red morocco labels. Both have additional black name label for "James Mann." These two volumes were purchased from Capitol Hill Books.

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.

Full text

See also


  1. E. Lee Shepard, "Call, Daniel" in Dictionary of Virginia Biography, ed. Sara B. Bearss, John T. Kneebone, J. Jefferson Looney, Brent Tarter, and Sandra Gioia Treadway (Richmond, Virginia: The Library of Virginia, 2001), 514.
  2. Charles F. Hobson, "St. George Tucker's Law Papers," William and Mary Law Review 47, no. 4 (2006): 1248-49, accessed October 18, 2013.
  3. E. Lee Shepard, "Call, Daniel," 514.
  4. Daniel Call, "George Wythe," Reports of Cases Argued and Decided in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, 2nd ed. (Richmond, VA: Robert I. Smith, 1833), 4:x-xv.
  5. Hobson, "St. George Tucker's Law Papers."
  6. E. Lee Shepard, "Call, Daniel," 514.
  7. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 2:353 [no.2091].
  8. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 3 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  9. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  10. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on February 18, 2014.

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