The Reports of Sir Bartholomew Shower, Knt. of Cases Adjudg'd in the Court of King's Bench, in the Reign of His Late Majesty King William III, With Several Learned Arguments

From Wythepedia: The George Wythe Encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

by Sir Bartholomew Shower

Shower's King's Bench Reports

Title page from The Reports of Sir Bartholomew Shower, volume one, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Sir Bartholomew Shower
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed by the assigns of Richard and Edward Atkins, Esqs; for Danial Borwne and J. Walthoe
Date 1708
Edition First
Language English
Volumes 2 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. Folio (32 cm.)
Location Shelf F-5
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]
Frontispiece, volume two.
Sir Bartholomew Shower (1658 – 1701) was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1676 and called to the bar in 1680. In 1688, he was named king's counsel, then later the same year appointed to the bench.[1] In 1698, Shower was chosen as one of Exeter's members for Parliament and became a dominant Tory voice in the Commons. Shower's King's Bench reports derive from his manuscript notes but were published posthumously. "It is probable that these Cases were printed from the 'foul copy' of the Reporter" and were not the finished product Shower meant to publish.[2] As a result, the first two editions of the reports have been widely criticized.[3] A third edition, published in 1836 and based on a manuscript in the Lansdowne collection, has a more favorable reputation and appears to represent the collection Shower originally intended to print.[4]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

There is no doubt that George Wythe owned this title—a copy of the first edition at the Library of Congress includes Wythe's armorial bookplate. We also know that Thomas Jefferson listed the title as "Shower’s [rep] 2.v. fol." in his inventory of Wythe's Library, noting that he kept the volume himself. He later sold it to the Library of Congress. Not surprisingly, all four of the Wythe Collection sources (Goodwin's pamphlet[5], Dean's Memo[6], Brown's Bibliography[7] and George Wythe's Library[8] on LibraryThing) list the first edition of Shower's King's Bench Reports. The Wolf Law Library moved a copy of the first edition from another rare book collection to the George Wythe Collection.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in contemporary blind calf, rebacked with red spine labels. Each volume includes a previous owner's signature on the title page. Marginal notes of previous owner in both volumes 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.

Full text

See also


  1. Robert J. Frankle, "Shower, Sir Bartholomew (1658–1701)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed September 22, 2013. Subsequent biographical information also derives from this article unless otherwise noted.
  2. J. G. Marvin, Legal Bibliography or a Thesaurus of American, English, Irish, and Scotch Law Books (Philadelphia: T. & J. W. Johnson, Law Booksellers, 1847), 646.
  3. Robert J. Frankle, "Shower, Sir Bartholomew."
  4. John William Wallace, The Reporters, Arranged and Characterized with Incidental Remarks, 4th ed. (Boston: Soule and Bugbee, 1882), 392-393.
  5. Mary R. M. Goodwin, The George Wythe House: Its Furniture and Furnishings (Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, 1958), L.
  6. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 5, 14 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  7. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  8. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on February 13, 2014.