A Report of Some Proceedings on the Commission of Oyer and Terminer and Goal Delivery for the Trial of the Rebels in the Year 1746 in the County of Surry and of Other Crown Cases. To Which are Added Discourses upon a Few Branches of the Crown Law

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by Sir Michael Foster

Foster's Crown Law

Title page from A Report of Some Proceedings on the Commission of Oyer and Terminer, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Sir Michael Foster
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published Oxford: Printed at the Clarendon Press, sold by J. Worrall and B. Tovey (London)
Date 1762
Edition First
Language English
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages [2], viii, [4], 412, [20]
Desc. Folio (33 cm.)
Location Shelf L-5
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Sir Michael Foster (1689-1763), the son of an attorney and member of Exeter College, Oxford, was called to the bar by the Middle Temple in 1713.[1] Foster became recorder of Bristol in 1735 and sergeant-at-law in 1736, and accepted an appointment to the Court of King's Bench in 1745.[2] Holdsworth praises Foster's reports as "the most remarkable and scholarly of all the reports of this period."[3] He later expounds "[t]hey are remarkable in form because he appended learned notes to the cases, and added four very able discourses on various points of Crown law" and they are "remarkable in substance by reason of their author's learning, his clarity of expression, and his accuracy of statement."[4] Another author describes the reports as being "a work of very high authority."[5]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as Foster's crown law. and given by Thomas Jefferson to Dabney Carr. We do not know which edition Wythe owned. The Brown Bibliography[6] includes the 1767 third edition based on the copy Thomas Jefferson sold to the Library of Congress in 1815.[7] Barbara Dean suggests the 1762 first edition in her bibliographic memo.[8] George Wythe's Library[9] on LibraryThing indicates "Precise edition unknown. Numerous editions were published at Oxford, Dublin and London beginning in 1762." The Wolf Law Library already owned a copy of the first edition (1762) in another rare book collection and moved it to the George Wythe Collection.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Recently rebound in period style. Spine features four bands with gilt rules with green label Trial of Rebels; stamped, "New York University School of Law", on verso of title page. 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.

See also


  1. William Holdsworth, A History of English Law (London: Methuen & Co., Sweet and Maxwell, 1938), 12:135.
  2. N. G. Jones, "Foster, Sir Michael (1689–1763)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 7 June 2013.
  3. Holdsworth, A History of English Law, 135.
  4. Ibid, 136.
  5. Edward Foss, Biographia Juridica: A Biographical Dictionary of the Judges of England from the Conquest to the Present Time, 1066-1870, (London: John Murray, 1870), 279.
  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. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 2:295, [no.1950]. This copy is signed by Jefferson's son-in-law, J. W. Eppes.
  8. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 7 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  9. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe", accessed on September 16, 2013.