DAVIES, Sir John. A Report of Cases and Matters in Law, Resolved and Adjudged in the King’s Courts in Ireland [1604-1612]. Collected and Digested by Sir John Davies, Knight, The King’s Attorney-General in that Kingdom. Now first translated into English.
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Dublin: Printed for Sarah Cotter, under Dick’s Coffee-House, in Skinner-Row, 1762. Crown octavo. pp. , 277, . Contemporary full calf, spine rebacked.
Sir John Davies (1569-1626), political writer and historian, was born in Wiltshire and educated at Winchester and Oxford. He was called to the bar in 1595 but was disbarred in 1598 for beating a fellow-student in the public hall. He was author of a well-known poem Nosce Teipsum, and other writings flattering to the vanity of Queen Elizabeth, which restored him to favour. He was an active member of the English Parliament of 1601, and James I, in testimony of his admiration of Nosce Teipsum, appointed him Solicitor-General of Ireland in 1603, and Attorney General in 1606, in which capacity he was one of the first judges who administered the English law in Ulster. His works afford the most candid, graphic, and able summary of the vicissitudes of Ireland at the beginning of the seventeenth century. He was speaker of the Irish Parliament of 1615 that repealed the Statute of Kilkenny. He died in London in 1626 shortly after being appointed Lord Chief Justice of England. Allibone says “In versatility of talent, brilliancy of imagination, political wisdom, and literary taste, few Englishmen have equalled Sir John Davies.” The eloquent commentary on the common law prefaced to this, the first book of Irish case law, is to be found only in the folio editions. The cases seem to have been heard between 1604 and 1612 and Hans S. Pawlisch writing in ‘The Historical Journal’ in 1980 notes that Davies had “worked to consolidate and perpetuate the military conquest by a series of judicial decisions which transformed the legal and administrative structure of the Island.” Provenance: From the library of Robert Jocelyn, 1st Viscount Jocelyn (c. 1688-1756) Anglo-Irish politician and judge and member of the Peerage of Ireland, best known for serving as Lord Chancellor of Ireland. First published in Dublin, 1615, under title: Le Primer Report des Cases & Matters en Ley, Resolue & Adiudge en les Courts del Roy en Ireland. Includes index.
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