4to., pp. , 163, [1, blank]; a very good copy in nineteenth-century half calf with marbled boards, spine gilt, rubbed; joints cracked; cords sound, some insect damage to rear cover; bookplate sometime removed from front pastedown; ownership inscription of Robert Southey to title page dated ‘Keswick 1820’, and 11-line note in his hand to front flyleaf; sold at the sale of his library, Sotheby’s 18th May 1844, lot 2340, £1 11s; with a note by the purchaser; contemporary ownership inscription of John Mason to final blank page.
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Altare Christianum: or, the dead Vicar’s Plea. Wherein the Vicar of Gr. being dead, yet speaketh, and pleadeth out of Antiquity, against him that hath broken downe his Altar. Presented, and humbly submitted to the consideration of his Superiours, the Governours of our Church.
First edition, from the library of Robert Southey, with an ownership inscription an eleven-line note in his distinctive diminutive hand.
Pocklington’s high church, altar-wise polemic, a rebuff of his former patron, the troublesome bishop John Williams, served him well in the short term: ‘It is significant that [in June 1637] he was sworn a chaplain-in-ordinary to the king’ (ODNB). However, with the advent of the Short Parliament in 1640 the same book got its author into difficulty. Southey notes: ‘For writing this book, and another entitled “Sunday no Sabbath” , Dr Pocklington was deprived of all his living, dignities and preferments, disabled from ever holding any place or dignity in Church or Commonwealth, and prohibited from ever coming within the verge of the King’s Courts. And the book was ordered to be burnt by the hangman.’ It is, though, ‘remarkably free from the ill spirit of the times in which it was written’. Possibly the poet was thinking of the political insecurities of his own age and position; indeed he expresses a good deal of sympathy and admiration for this fellow courtier, who found himself at the wrong end of what Southey calls an ‘abominable tyranny’.
The work was read by Southey as part of his research for The Book of the Church, in which Pocklington is mentioned in volume II, a passage echoing the note here. Though Southey was a prodigious reader he rarely annotated his books; in the 1844 sale comprising almost four thousand books, fewer than one hundred feature annotations in his hand.
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MANUSCRIPT OF HOPE’S MINOR PRACTICKS HOPE, Sir Thomas, of Craighall.
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?]
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.