MARYLAND - Thomas BACON, compiler (c.1700-1768)
Laws of Maryland at large, with proper indexes. Now first collected into one compleat body, and published from the original acts and records, remaining in the secretary's-office of the said province. Together with notes and other matters, relative to the Constitution thereof, extracted from the provincial records. To which is prefixed, the Charter, with an English translation
Annapolis: Jonas Green, 1765 [i.e. 1766]. Folio. (15 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches). 368 unnumbered leaves. Woodcut arms of Maryland on the title, engraved by Thomas Sparrow. Advertisement (i.e. errata) leaf in rear. Scattered early marginalia. (Light foxing).
Expertly bound to style in half russia over early marbled paper covered boards, spine with raised bands in seven compartments, morocco lettering piece in the second, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt.
Provenance: John Purviance (early signature on title)
The most important legal publication in colonial Maryland and among the finest examples of typography of any publication done on an American colonial press.
Bacon, rector of All-Saints Parish in Frederick County and domestic chaplain in Maryland to the Right Honorable Frederick Lord Baltimore, worked on compiling these laws for thirteen years and publication took another four. Considered the most important legal work published in the colony, it is noted for its typography and the first appearance of the seal of Maryland on the title. An entire chapter is devoted to this work in Lawrence C. Wroth's A History of Printing in Colonial Maryland, who writes: "In scholarly and systematic arrangement as well as in accuracy and completeness it excelled any of the former bodies of law which the Province had possessed ... To possess a collection of works on Maryland history from which a copy of Bacon is omittted is to have a house built upon sand, while a collection of colonial laws or of works illustrative of American printing which does not include that work, by this omission confesses itself incomplete."
Wroth 254; Evans 10049; Sabin 2684.