Reports or Causes in Chancery, collected by Sir George Cary one of the Masters of the Chancery in Anno 1601

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by George Carew

Reports or Causes in Chancery
CarewReportsOrCausesInChancery1650 Title.jpg

Title page from Reports or Causes in Chancery, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author George Carew
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed by E.G. for W. Lee [and 2 others]
Date 1650
Edition First
Language English
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages [16], 128, 113-116 [i.e. 119], [1] pages
Desc. Sixteenmo
Location Shelf F-1
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Sir George Carew (c.1556–1612), also known as Sir George Cary, administrator and diplomat, was probably born at Antony, Cornwall. In 1577, after university (presumably Oxford) Carew entered the Middle Temple, before sitting in the first of seven consecutive parliaments. He served for St. Germans in 1584–1585, 1597–1598, 1601, and 1604–1610; and for Saltash in 1586–1587, 1589, and 1593. In 1588 he married Thomasine Godolphin.[1]

Beginning in the spring of 1587, Carew served as secretary to Lord Chancellor Christopher Hatton and his successors, Sir John Puckering and Sir Thomas Egerton. Both Carew and William Lambarde worked as Egerton's agents in administrative reconstruction of the chancery. This connection may have led to Carew's work compiling Lambarde's notes into two publications, Treatise of the Masters and a volume of case reports, Reports, or Causes in Chancery.[2] Carew served as ambassador to Poland in 1597, became master of Chancery in 1599, and held the position of ambassador to France from 1605 to 1609. In June, 1612, he secured the position of master of the Court of Wards but died shortly after the appointment.[3]

Reports or Causes in Chancery, first published in 1650, includes Lambarde's notes supplemented with material presumably added by Carew.[4] The volume, described as "influential, albeit derivative,"[5] includes cases from 1557-1604 listed in alphabetical order. A chronological excerpt from the official entry books up to the year 1584 comprises much of the collection.[6]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Carey's reports in Chancery 16s." This was one of the titles kept by Thomas Jefferson. He later sold a copy of the first edition (1650) to the Library of Congress in 1815. Both the Brown Bibliography[7] and George Wythe's Library[8] on LibraryThing include the 1650 edition based on Millicent Sowerby's entry in Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson.[9] The volume Jefferson sold to the Library of Congress still exists and may have been Wythe's copy, but the book includes no markings to verify Wythe's ownership.

The Wolf Law Library was given a copy of the first edition of Reports or Causes in Chancery.

Initial capital, page one.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in twentieth century period-style calf over plain-paper boards. Spine features raised bands, red label with gilt lettering and rules, and stamp of the Worcester Law Library in the bottom panel. Title page signed "Ja: Ravenscrofte." On loan from the library's Sid Lapidus Collection.

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. W. J. Jones, "Carew, Sir George (c.1556–1612)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed February 28, 2010.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Paul Hunneyball, "CAREW, Sir George II (c.1560-1612)," in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
  4. Paul L. Ward, "William Lambarde’s Collections on Chancery," Harvard Library Bulletin 7, no. 3 (Autumn 1953): 278.
  5. Hunneyball, "CAREW, Sir George II (c.1560-1612)."
  6. Ward, "William Lambarde’s Collections on Chancery," 277-278.
  7. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012, rev. 2014) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  8. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe" accessed on January 21, 2015.
  9. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 2:200-201 [no.1741].