The Entring Clerk's Vade Mecum: Being an Exact Collection of Precedents for Declarations and Pleadings in Most Actions

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by William Brown

The Entring Clerk's Vade Mecum
George Wythe bookplate.jpg
Title not held by The Wolf Law Library
at the College of William & Mary.
Author William Brown
Published London:
Date 1678 or 1695
Edition Precise edition unknown.
Language English
Volumes volume set
Desc. 8vo.

William Brown (fl. 1671-1705) was an English legal clerk and writer, little known aside from producing several manuals and compendiums in the late seventeenth century. His place and date of birth and the circumstances of his childhood are unknown. Brown likely took up his clerkship shortly after the Restoration and held that position until at least as late as 1704.[1] Because this was not a high status position, Brown most likely did not receive his education at any of the Inns of Court.[2] His date of death is unknown, but there is some evidence that he died in October of 1712[3]

The Entring Clerk's Vade Mecum, a compendium for lawyers and law clerks, contains a dedication to Thomas Robinson, chief prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas whom Brown had been serving under for sixteen years by 1678.[4] The title was one of many "books of tutorials for the aspiring clerk, books of precedents, and manuals for public officials" Brown produced.[5] George Wythe owned at least two Brown titles, The Entring Clerk's Vade Mecum and Modus Intrandi Placita Generalia.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Brown’s Entering clerk’s Vade mecum 8vo." and given by Thomas Jefferson to Dabney Carr. The precise edition owned by Wythe is unknown. Octavo editions were published in 1678 and 1695. George Wythe's Library[6] on LibraryThing states as much and does not list a specific edition. The Brown Bibliography[7] lists the first edition (1678) perhaps based on the existence of that edition in Jefferson's library.[8]

As yet, the Wolf Law Library has not purchased a copy Brown’s The Entering Clerk’s Vade Mecum.

See also


  1. Stuart Handley, "Brown, William (fl. 1671–1705)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed December 6, 2013.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on May 14, 2015.
  7. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012, rev. May, 2014) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  8. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 2:286-287 [no.1926].