LOPEZ DE PALACIOS RUBIOS, Joannes.
LAWS OF SPAIN AND ITS AMERICAN COLONIES
Glosemata legum Tauri.Salamanca, Johannes de Junta, 1542.
FIRST and ONLY EDITION. Folio. ff. , CXLI, lacking final blank. Gothic letter, double column. Title in red and black within woodcut architectural frame with putti and grotesques, decorated initials and ornaments. Title dusty, repaired at lower gutter, mostly light browning, light water stain towards head of gutter in first half, extending a bit in second, occasional marginal foxing, minor ink marks. A good copy in later vellum over boards, rebacked, occasional C16 ms notes.
A good copy of the first and only edition 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 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 debated in 1505 in the city of Toro, in Castile, and approved by a committee of major Spanish jurists, according to instructions left in the will of Queen Isabella, who wished to modernize the Castilian justice system. On this committee was Juan López de Palacios Rubios (1450-1524), trained at Salamanca and known as ‘El Doctor’ for his canon law expertise. He famously wrote the ‘Requerimiento’ (1513) – the declaration of the Spanish monarchy seizing of New World territories, which was read to the native populations to ‘inform’ them of the conquerors’ rights. The present work provides the text (in Castilian), followed by Rubios’ commentary (in Latin), for each ‘ley de Toro’, which joined three previous sets of laws: the Partidas and ordinance of Alcalá (1343), and the Royal Ordinance (1496). The ‘leyes de Toro’ were introduced ‘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, the status of prematurely deceased heirs in the definition of family genealogy for the purpose of inheritance, clandestine marriage, Christian burial for the executed, and whether a father can revoke a donation. A scarce commentary, in a remarkably well-preserved copy.Harvard, Michigan and Berkeley copies recorded in the US. USTC 339473; Wilkinson 11607; Ruiz Fidalgo 245. Early Laws of Texas (1891), vol.I.