Thursday, March 21, 2013

St. George Tucker's Law Reports and Selected Papers, 1782-1825

Just out from the University of North Carolina Press is St. George Tucker's Law Reports and Selected Papers, 1782-1825, in three volumes, edited by Charles F. Hobson, editor of The Papers of John Marshall, is a resident scholar at the William and Mary School of Law.  Price for the set: $250 the set.

The press explains:
Best known for his edition of Blackstone's Commentaries, St. George Tucker (1752-1827), a lawyer and judge in the state and federal courts of Virginia, played a central role in the legal history of post-Revolutionary Virginia and of the new nation. This comprehensive three-volume edition of Tucker's law reports and selected loose papers, edited by Charles F. Hobson, is an unsurpassed archive for studying the "republicanization" of the common law as it unfolded in the commonwealth of Virginia. In addition, Tucker's papers provide an invaluable source for tracking Virginia's efforts to establish a system of state superior courts operating alongside the older county court system dating from the colonial period.

Tucker's reports fill a documentary gap caused by the 1865 fire that destroyed Virginia's higher court records. The editor's general introduction supplies an informative overview of Tucker's life and judicial career. Editorial aids and appendixes include a guide to Tucker's abbreviations, a short-title bibliography, a glossary of selected legal terms, a biographical register of the Virginia bench and bar, and correspondence and documents relating to the rupture between Tucker and Spencer Roane.
Here are the blurbs:

"St. George Tucker belongs with James Kent as one of the most important and influential legal thinkers of the post-Revolutionary era. His reports provide crucial insight into the legal debates shaping major ideological issues such as slavery, crime and punishment, debt regulation, the power between church and state, judicial review, and the common law in the new nation. Through the lens of a deeply divided court, we see these abstract intellectual questions made concrete in legal decisions affecting actual people. This is a real gift."
--Holly Brewer, University of Maryland

"St. George Tucker was a towering figure among lawyers and judges of the early republic. His papers offer a comprehensive picture of law in Virginia across forty years, from the technical minutiae of procedure to broader questions of inheritance, contract, debt, land title, crime, and more, including whether a person was slave or free. This superbly executed edition will be an essential resource for anyone interested in the development of American law in a crucial period of its history."
--Bruce H. Mann, Harvard Law School

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