A Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown, or, A System of the Principal Matters Relating to That Subject: Digested Under Their Proper Heads

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by William Hawkins

A Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown

Title page from A Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown, volume two, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author William Hawkins
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: In the Savoy: Printed by Eliz. Nutt (executrix of J. Nutt, assignee of E. Sayer, Esq;) for J. Walthoe and J. Walthoe, jun.
Date 1716-1726
Edition Second
Language English
Volumes 2 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. Folio (33 cm.)
Location Shelf L-5
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

William Hawkins (1681 – 1750) was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1700 or 1701; confusion exists due to another man in the records sharing his name.[1] In 1707 Hawkins was called to the bar. He later served as deputy chief justice of the Brecon circuit in 1719, and in 1724 he advanced to the rank of serjeant-at-law.[2] Hawkins began writing on legal matters in 1711. A Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown, first published in 1716, represented an advancement in both analysis and in detail when compared to the earlier exposition of English criminal law written by Sir Edward Coke (1552 – 1634).[3] In addition to this book, Hawkins also edited an abridgment of Coke upon Littleton, and a new edition of the Statutes at Large.[4]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as Hawkin's P. C. fol. and given by Thomas Jefferson to Dabney Carr. We do not know which edition Wythe owned. The Brown Bibliography[5] includes the first edition (1761-1721) while Dean's Memo[6] lists the fourth edition (1762). George Wythe's Library[7] on LibraryThing indicates "Precise edition unknown. Folio editions (in two volumes) were published at London in 1716-21, 1724, 1739 and 1762." Because we don't know which edition Wythe owned, the Wolf Law Library moved a mixed set (volume one, first edition 1716; volume two, second edition, 1726) from another rare book collection to the George Wythe Collection.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Mixed set: volume one is the first edition (1716); volume two is the second edition (1726). Set recently rebound in full maroon with black labels and marbled end papers. 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 volume one and volume two of this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

Full text

See also

External Links

Read volume one of this book in Google Books.


  1. Humphry W. Woolrych, Lives of Eminent Serjeants-at-Law of the English Bar (Wm. H. Allen & Co, 1869), 513.
  2. J. H. Baker, "Hawkins, William (1681/2–1750)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed Oct. 12, 2013.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. 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
  6. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 11 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  7. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe", accessed on September 16, 2013.