Treatise of Laws

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A Treatise of Laws or, A General Introduction to the Common, Civil, and Canon Law.

by Giles Jacob

A Treatise of Laws
George Wythe bookplate.jpg
Title not held by The Wolf Law Library
at the College of William & Mary.
Author Giles Jacob
Published London: Printed by Eliz. Nutt and R. Goffing for T. Woodward
Date 1721
Volumes volume set

Giles Jacob did not intend A Treatise of Laws: or, A General Introduction to the Common, Civil, and Canon Law to be an all encompassing tome of legal doctrine, but rather a condensed and abridged treatise accessible to individuals not intimately familiar with law. "By [a]briding and [m]ethodizing, the Study of Law may be brought into a much narrower compass than is commonly suppos'd."[1] The book is broken into three sections based on the main topics of discussion. These are the Common Law, Civil Law, and Canon Law. Each section begins with explanation on the general type of law (common, civil or canon) and then proceeds, in alphabetical order, to cover all of the individual legal issues. Each issue describes the doctrine of the particular law and in some cases describes the reasoning behind those doctrines. [2]

Jacob dedicated this treatise to the Honourable Sir John Pratt, a prominent legal and judicial figure whose career included membership in the House of Commons as well as receiving a Knighthood.[3]

A precursor to Jacob's better known works, including A New Law-Dictionary, A Treatise of Laws was still thought of as an important treatise that could be found in the collections of prominent legal practitioners and scholars such as Charles Purton Cooper.[4] Jacob's work continue to have relevance and has been cited in recent legal scholarly books.[5]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library


  1. Giles Jacob, A Treatise of Laws: Or, A General Introduction to the Common, Civil, and Canon Law (London: Printed by Eliz. Nutt and R. Goffing for T. Woodward, 1721), x.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Stuart Handley, "Pratt, Sir John (1657–1725)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed January 19, 2013.
  4. Charles Purton Cooper, Bibliotheca Cooperiana: Catalogue of a Further Portion of the Library of Charles Purton Cooper (London: J. Davy and Sons, 1856).
  5. Philip Hamburger, Law and Judicial Duty (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), 116.

External Links

Read this book in Google Books