‘THE LAWYER OF COMMON SENSE’
Two vols. in one, folio (315 × 195 mm.), pp. ix, [i] (blank), 410, , -758, . A few gatherings very lightly browned, occasional minor spotting, but generally very fresh. Contemporary Scottish calf, with some expert restoration to joints. A good copy.
First edition, very scarce, of one of the principal Scottish Enlightenment treatises on the law. John Erskine of Carnock, who has been called ‘the lawyer of common sense’ (DNB) wrote only two works but “both of these were of very great importance”.
The first, The principles of the law of Scotland (1754) was intended only as a manual for his students while the second, the Institute of the law of Scotland is a far more substantial volume, published from his manuscript after his death (1768). “The ‘Institutes’ are divided into four books. The first treats of law in general, of the courts of Scotland, and of the relations between husband and wife, parent and child, minors and their tutors and curators, and master and servant; the second treats chiefly of heritable rights; the third of contracts and successions; the fourth of actions and crimes.” It was reprinted numerous times in the following centuries.
Worldcat lists North American copies at Huntington, NYPL, , Harvard University of British Columbia as only. There are also copies at Los Angeles County Law Library and Jacob Burns Law Library at the George Washington University Law Library, Washington DC.