A Treatise on Obligations: Considered in a Moral and Legal View

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by Robert Joseph Pothier

A Treatise on Obligations

Title page from A Treatise on Obligations, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Robert Joseph Pothier
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator François Xavier Martin
Published Newbern, N.C.: Martin & Ogden
Date 1802
Edition {{{edition}}}
Language English
Volumes 2 volumes in 1 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. 8vo (21 cm.)
Location Shelf G-4
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Robert Pothier (1699-1772) was a Professor of French Law at the University of Orleans and a judge of the petty court.[1] Pothier is especially well known for a series of treatises he wrote on duties, sales, leases, and a variety of other topics, published between 1761 and 1772.[2] Several other essays on civil and criminal procedures, successions, fiefs, and other topics, left in manuscript form at the time of Pothier’s death, were later published between 1776 and 1778.[3]

Headpiece, first page of text.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

There is no doubt that George Wythe owned the 1802 edition of A Treatise on Obligations. A copy at the Library of Congress includes manuscript notes in Wythe's hand.[4] Three of the Wythe Collection sources (Dean's Memo[5], Brown's Bibliography[6] and George Wythe's Library[7] on LibraryThing) list the Library of Congress copy as evidence for including A Treatise on Obligations in Wythe's Library. Brown also suggests that this is the title in the Jefferson Inventory noted as "[Law of] Obligations 8vo." and given by Thomas Jefferson to Dabney Carr. LibraryThing identified that entry as Thomas Ashe's The Law of Obligations and Conditions and writes of Pothier's work "Presumably bequeathed by Wythe to Thomas Jefferson in 1806, but not included on the Wythe List." The Wolf Law Library moved a copy the 1802 edition of Pothier's A Treatise on Obligations from another rare book collection to the George Wythe Collection. The library continues to search for a copy of Ashe's The Law of Obligations and Conditions.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Rebound in period-style full calf with red and black spine labels.

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. Charles George Herbermann, "Robert Joseph Pothier" in The Catholic Encyclopedia: an International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, and History of the Catholic Church, Special ed. (New York: The Encyclopedia Press, Inc., 1913), 267.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 2:312 [no.1990].
  5. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 5 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  6. 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.
  7. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on March 20, 2014.

External Links

Read volume one of this book in Google Books.
Read volume two of this book in Google Books.