MANUSCRIPT OF HOPE’S MINOR PRACTICKS

Contemporary manuscript of ‘Ane Breiff Treatise upon severall substantiall heads of ye Scotts Law verie profitable for young students written by ye most Learned jurisconsult Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall Knight Advocat to his Majestie’. [Scotland? Mid-seventeenth century?]

[Scotland? Mid-seventeenth century?]

Small 8vo., foliated [2, list of chapters, in a different hand], 124, [11, index], with a final leaf, probably originally an endpaper, of later notes on the decisions in certain cases; in excellent condition, in a very neat and clear hand, nicely rebound in unlettered sheep.

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Contemporary manuscript of ‘Ane Breiff Treatise upon severall substantiall heads of ye Scotts Law verie profitable for young students written by ye most Learned jurisconsult Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall Knight Advocat to his Majestie’. [Scotland? Mid-seventeenth century?]

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Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall (1573-1646) was called to the Scottish Bar in 1605 and soon rose to prominence. Following the accession of Charles I he became Lord Advocate and was in high favour with the King. He compiled an extensive collection of notes on statutes and cases in about 1633 (published by the Stair Society in 1937), and probably about the same time wrote this concise manual to the law of Scotland.

There are twenty-four chapters, dealing mainly with property and inheritance but also with legal procedures. Chapter 4 concerns executors ‘testamentar or dative’ (that is, whether appointed by a will or by a court); Chapter 6 ‘Of bands Harell & movell [contracts heritable and moveable] and there distinctions’; Chapters 8-14 the several sorts of heirs – spouses and children, male and female, wards, and bastards – and the order in which they succeed to an inheritance; Chapters 15-22, mainly jurisdiction and procedures; Chapter 24 ‘Of tailzies bands [entailments] & contracts of tailzies & of breakeing & improving yrof’.

This treatise was published in Edinburgh by Thomas Ruddiman as Hope’s Minor Practicks in 1736, when it was still of much use because the Scottish legal system was very different from the English even after the Act of Union.

A copy at the Clark Library, lacking the useful index, is dated 27 December 1669.

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