Orders and directions, together with a commission for the better administration of iustice: how, and by whom the lawes and statutes tending to the reliefe of the poore, the well ordering and training vp of youth in trades, and the reformation of disorders and disordered persons, are executed throughout the kingdome.

London, Robert Barker, printer to the Kings most excellent Maiestie: and by the assignes of Iohn Bill, 1630 (i.e. 1631).


FIRST EDITION, third issue. 4to. pp. (iv), 33, (xxi) 17 (i). A-I4, K2. first leaf blank but for signature. Roman and Italic letter. Full page woodcut arms of Charles I on verso of title page, large historiated woodcut initials, historiated and grotesque woodcut head and tail-pieces. Light age yellowing, verso of last fractionally dusty. A very good copy, crisp and clean in excellent speckled calf c. 1900 by Riviere, covers bordered with a triple gilt rule, spine with raised bands, richly gilt in compartments red morocco label, inner dentelles and edges gilt, a.e.r.

Important third issue of the first edition of Charles I landmark “Book of Orders” concerning the treatment of the poor, vagabonds, drunkards, unmarried families, poverty, corn hoarding, famine and pestilence, of tremendous social, political and historic interest: this issue has been partially reset and reimposed from the first two editions and it adds a list of Privy Councilors and Justices allotted to each circuit not previously printed. As described in its introduction, the purpose of The Book was to ensure “better administration of justice (…) relief of the poor and (…) reformation of disorders”, greatly increasing the control of Charles’ government over what had until then been largely local affairs handled by the local gentry.

The book directed the Justices of the peace in measures for the control and relief of the poor, and dealt with issues such as vagrancy, alehouses, the binding out or apprenticing of pauper children and houses of correction. To guarantee the due implementation of these orders, Justices of the Peace were to hold monthly divisional meetings and to provide the sheriff with quarterly reports. A royal commission or privy councillors was established to oversee the whole operation. “Poor laws were instituted by many sixteenth-century European governments: Catholic and Protestant, urban provincial and national. The legislation had two main focuses: first, regulating the supply of relief by reforms of medieval hospitals and almshouses, and by statutory provision for the “worthy” poor, second controlling demand for relief by punitive measures against the “unworthy”, especially the able bodied who begged, who were defined as vagabonds.

The English legislation included several components, including settlement acts and vagrancy regulations, as well as poor relief provisions. There is considerable evidence of the enforcement of the poor laws under the early Stuarts. The ‘Book of Orders’ of 1630 was the most comprehensive attempt to date to enforce the legislation. Large numbers of vagrants were arrested – about 25,000 between 1631 and 1639, according to reports by county officials to the privy council. There is also considerable evidence of of the implementation of poor relief in the 1630s. Of course the orders of 1630 were not unprecedented. Similar action was taken after four poor harvests between 1594 and 1597 and following Elizabethan legislation in 1598 and 1601. It was in the 1620’s that widespread enforcement began, which suggests that the orders of 1630 were building on established foundations”. Ronald H. Fritze “Historical Dictionary of Stuart England, 1603-1689”.

Charles I’s ‘Book of Orders’ did more to establish a national system of “Poor Relief” than any previous edict. A very good copy of an important work.


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WILSON, Thomas

A Discourse upon Usurie.

London, Roger Warde, 1584


8vo. ff (xvi) 201 (iii) Black letter, two large historiated woodcut initials, contemp. autograph Richard Crakenthorp on title, faint C19 library stamp of the Birmingham Law Society on B1 and O3; general age yellowing, mostly light. A good, clean, well margined copy in full modern calf antique.

Second and last contemporary edition of Thomas Wilson’s classic work on all aspects of usury in the form of a dialogue or, more accurately, speeches made between a rich merchant, a zealous preacher and a civil lawyer. This is the first authoritative work on the then vigorously debated subject by an English author and provides considerable insight into the economic life of Elizabethan England as well as a history of usorial prohibitions . Wilson himself was a doctor of civil law and sometime master of the court of Requests, unsurprisingly therefore, the lawyer has the best part. Wilson’s professional background does bear fruit however as no common lawyer of the period would have been able to cite so freely the legal writers of ancient Rome, of the mediaeval schools and of modern European jurisprudence. The tone of the work is more practical than academic however, with propositions explained and justified by the use of practical and financial examples. What is particularly interesting to the modern reader are the techniques employed not to contravene the usury laws whilst still financing transactions and earning a good return on one’s money. If these rules did nothing else they gave rise to a wide range of very sophisticated commercio-financial arrangements which otherwise would not have seen the light of day for centuries to come. The autograph on the title is almost certainly Richard Crakenthorpe’s (1567-1624) Protestant divine and author of three published works, all controversial and anti Catholic, and “Popish Falsifications” that has survived in ms. only. See Milward p. 237.

STC. 25808. Kress I 159. Goldsmiths 227.


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LOREDANO, Bernardino (i.e. SIGONIO Carlo)


In M. Tullii Ciceronis orationes de lege agraria contra P. Seruilium Rullum Tribunum pl. commentarius.

Venice, Paulus Manutius, Aldi, June 1558.


4to. pp. 297, (iii). A-2O⁴, 2P². Roman letter, some Greek. Woodcut Aldine device on title, capitals spaces with guide letters, bookplate of Baron Landau on pastedown. A very good copy, crisp clean and wide margined in contemporary limp vellum, later endpapers.

FIRST EDITION of this interesting commentary on Cicero’s orations on land reform, spoken against the tribune of the plebs P. Servilius Rullus, beautifully printed by the Aldine press. Cicero opposed Rullus’ bill, which proposed to use money from foreign conquests to purchase land in Italy for the establishment of colonies of the poor. He was instinctively against what he saw as the calculated bribery of the Roman electorate, and politically he supported Pompey who also opposed the act.

Cicero delivered four speeches, of which three are still extant, although the first was passed on mutilated. The second is the most important, and nothing is known of the fourth. Very little enthusiasm was shown towards the land bill by the Roman people, who preferred the distribution of doles in the city to the prospect of distant allotments outside urban areas. The work had important resonance in Renaissance Italy and Europe, especially when it came to the redistribution of land and wealth between public or private hands.

“The most forceful Roman opponent of the agrarian movement was, however, Marcus Tullius Cicero. … In short, Cicero characterizes the agrarian movement as seditious, dangerous, and violently unjust. For what is an agrarian law, he asks in De officiis, but an initiative ‘to rob one man of what belongs to him and to give to another man what does not belong to him?’ For Cicero, as for so many other Roman writers, agrarian laws driven by plebeian envy had disrupted the concordia of the Roman republic, given rise to factions, and ultimately dismembered the body politic. This conviction had profound consequences for the shape of early-modern political theory. The influence of the Roman sources (and of Cicero in particular) was so pervasive among civic humanists that the rejection of agrarian laws (or “levelling,” as the English had it) became a powerful republican orthodoxy.” Eric Nelson “‘For the land is Mine’:The Hebrew Commonwealth and the Rise of Redistribution.”

Sigonio (1524-1585), Italian historian and classicist, was the author of numerous scholarly works held in high esteem by his contemporaries. He was born in Modena and held professorships at universities in Venice, Padua, and Bologna. “He was unquestionably one of the first classical antiquaries of his time, and a man of great judgement as well as learning, very correct and deep in researches, and of most unwearied diligence.” Chalmers. Sigonius’ reputation chiefly rests upon his publications on Greek and Roman antiquities, which remain insightful by present standards. A very good copy with an excellent provenance. Baron Landau was a C19 collector of early books of impeccable taste.

BM STC It. C16th p. 180 (Cicero) and p. 372 (Lauredanus ie Carolus Sigonius). Renouard. 174:8.


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TUNSTALL, Cuthbert


De artes supputandi, libri quator.

Strasbourg, Knoblock per Georg Machaerop, 1544.


8vo. pp. (xxiv) 454. Roman and Italic letter, woodcut initials, numerical diagrams throughout. Title page and verso of last slightly dusty, slight damp staining to blank margin of final gathering. Contemporary manuscript ex libris in English italic hand to title page. “T. Liliat’ with Greek inscription, C18 armorial bookplate of William Constable F.R.S – F.A.S. on pastedown. A clean and well margined copy in C17 tan calf, triple-ruled panels in blind with roll-stamped floral motif to one side on covers, richly gilt spine in five ruled compartments with raised bands, C18 paper shelf mark pasted to spine, a handsome copy, all edges red.

The first English book wholly on arithmetic, by the great Catholic humanist, Cuthbert Tunstall (1474 – 1559). The work was Tunstall’s farewell to secular scholarship as he was made Bishop of London a few days after its publication, and thereafter Lord Privy Seal. It is designed as a practical work on arithmetic with the emphasis on commercial transactions, undoubtedly based on models Tunstall encountered during his studies in Padua. “The book includes many business applications of the day, such as partnership, profit and loss and exchange. It also includes the rule of false, the rule of three and numerous applications of these and other rules. It is, however, the work of a scholar and a classicist rather than a businessman.” (Smith p.134, of 1st ed). “He wrote it so that his friends could be empowered to make their own calculations and no longer be cheated by money changers.” (Trapp & Herbrüggen cit infr.).

It is dedicated to his friend Thomas More, who the previous year had been appointed Sub-Treasurer of England, because there was no more appropriate dedicatee than the man engaged in supervising the finances of the King. “The dedicatory epistle to M[ore], gives an interesting picture of M[ore] and Tunstall.” Gibson 157. This was also the return of the compliment which, six years earlier, More had paid Tunstall in the opening lines of the ‘Utopia.’ The work was actually rather too scholarly for ordinary businessmen and it was not reprinted in England. However, it achieved some success on the continent and Rabelais (Oeuvres II 222) mentions it as required reading for the young Gargantua in Paris; it was also prescribed as an arithmetical study text in the Oxford statues of 1549, together with Cardano.

Thomas Liliat graduated MA and Batchelor of Divinity from Christ Church Oxford in the 1550s becoming successfully rector of Houghton in Northamptonshire and Westley in Suffolk. He knew enough Greek to adapt Aristotle’s quip about Plato’s lack of scientific knowledge, in the original, on the title page. An interesting example of a continental imprint of English authorship returning to England soon after publication, Tunstall having fallen into political incorrectness at home in the interim.

William Constable (1783 – 1806) was an avid naturalist and collector of natural history curiosities. In 1775 he was elected fellow of the Royal Society and his Cabinet of Curiosities is still on display at his family estate, Burton Constable Hall in Yorkshire.

Trapp & Herbrüggen, “The King’s good servant” n. 56. Smith, Rara Arithmetica p. 136.


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FRANCOIS I [with] ARENA, Antoine


Ordonnances du (…) Francois premier en ce pays de Provence, Forcalquier et terres adjacentes. (with) Les Taux, moderations, emoluments des greffiers (…) avocats du pays de Provence.

Avignon, Jean de Channey 1536-40 (with) Lyon, Thibault Paen, 1540.


Folio. Two volumes in one. ff 105 (xiii). A-T6 V4: ff. (xviii). A-D4 E2. Lettre Bâtard. Both titles within ornate woodcut architectural borders with putti, second with woodcut printer’s device incorporating the royal arms, fine large floriated gothic woodcut initials, with smaller white on black criblé in several series, engraved bookplate of Albert Pascal on pastedown. Uniform light age yellowing. Very good, clean copies in C19th olive morocco, spine with raised bands, inner dentelles richly gilt, by Allô. a.e.g.

A rare, handsome and important compilation of laws relating to the administration of justice in the south of France under Francois I, with reforming edicts for particular places, such as Marseilles. They cover all aspects of practice and procedure, the initiation of proceedings, appeals, vacations, relative jurisdictions, rights and duties of all sorts of officers and counsel and the exercise of Royal authority. There is a particular abundance of material on those perennial legal topics of costs, charges and fees.

The court of the Parlement of Aix was established by Louis II of Provence in 1415, but after the union of Provence with the crown in 1498, Louis XII decided to reform its administration of justice, using the Parlement of Paris as model. At first, the Count of Provence’s administration remained essentially in place, and the new Parlement remained subject to the Governor of Provence. This intermediary situation provoked some unrest and anxious to better ensure his authority, Francis I introduced these edicts in 1534 (first published in 1535), restricting the powers of the Governor, and bringing the Parlement directly under Royal control, which lasted until the Revolution.

These edicts cover administration of the Parliament at every level, the election of officials (from the President down), raising and organizing the ‘Gendarmerie’, the organization of the ‘Legions’, and the fining and punishment of criminals. The work finishes with an interesting edict on the running of the justice system in the town of Marseille with its special privileges and exemptions.

For some reason the Ordonnances are quite often found bound with one or more other works, including Arena’s, which lists the remuneration and privileges of lawyers and judges at the Parlement of Aix. A list of the names of all the towns subject to the jurisdiction of the Parlement d’Aix is given at the end, introduced in Provençal. A very good copy of a rare work.

Fairfax Murray Fr. Vol II 411. Brunet II 388. Not in BM STC Fr.


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