CIFUENTES, Miguel de.
LAWS OF SPAIN AND ITS AMERICAN COLONIES
Glosa sobre las Leyes de Toro.Medina del Campo, Matheo y Francisco del Canto, 1555
Folio. ff. 50. Gothic letter, double column. Title within woodcut architectural border with putti and caryatids, decorated initials and ornaments. Intermittent light browning (poorish paper), light oil stain in lower blank margin of initial gatherings, minor water stain to outer margin of last gathering. A good copy in contemporary vellum, lacking one tie, later ms title to spine, all edges sprinkled red, creases on covers. Bookplate and ink stamp of Los Angeles County Law Library to front pastedown and ffep respectively, C18 ms ‘Julian Eugenio Ruiz Dabalos’ to title, one later and one contemporary marginal ms note.
A good copy, in contemporary binding, of the third edition – the first two surviving in only a handful of copies – of this important commentary on the ‘Leyes de Toro’, a revolutionary set of laws for the Kingdom of Castile, some still recognized today. They were also applied and retained way into the C19 as part of the legal systems of former Spanish colonies such as Louisiana, Texas and Trinidad. These 83 laws were discussed in 1505 in the city of Toro, and approved by a committee of major Spanish jurists, after instructions left in the last will of Queen Isabella, who wished to modernize the Castilian justice system. Miguel de Cifuentes (fl.1560s), from Gijón, was a jurist ‘in utroque’, who gained fame through his commentary on the ‘leyes de Toro’, first published in 1546. ‘Glosa’ provides the text (in Castilian), followed by Cifuentes’ Latin commentary for each ‘ley de Toro’, which joined three previous sets of laws: the Partidas and the ordinance of Alcalá (1343), and the Royal Ordinance (1496). The ‘leyes de Toro’ were especially produced ‘to regulate the forms to be observed in making wills; to establish rules relative to testamentary successions, and to successions “ab intestato”; to fix the donations which a father or mother might make of a part of their estate to some of their children to the prejudice or others, […] and the alimony due from the father to his illegitimate children’ (‘Early Laws’, p.154). Rubios prepared a thorough alphabetical index listing the hundreds of questions discussed in his commentary, including alienation of goods, dozens of cases concerning inheritance by legitimate and illegitimate (‘spurii’) children, or the status of prematurely deceased heirs in the definition of family genealogy for the purpose of last wills, clandestine marriage, Christian burial for the executed, or whether a father can revoke a donation. The contemporary annotator noted that part of law 79 had been criticised by another jurist, probably Villasante. Julian Eugenio Ruiz Dabalos was a C18 lawyer in Madrid, involved, among other things, in the defence of a tobacco merchant from Alicante before the Consejo de Hacienda.4 copies recorded in US. USTC 335696; Wilkinson, Iberian Books, 3321; Pérez Pastor, Medina del Campo, 117. Early Laws of Texas (1891), vol.I.