NEW YORK - William Allen BUTLER (1825-1902)
The Revision of the Statutes of the State of New York and the Revisers ... An Address before the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, January 22, 1889. By William Allen Butler
New York and Albany: Banks & Brothers, 1889. 4to. (10 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches). , ii, 100pp. 3 engraved portraits. Extra-illustrated with 10 letters (9 ALS, 1 TLS) on legal matters.
Half dark blue crushed morocco and marbled paper covered boards, spine with raised bands in six compartments, lettered and decorated in gilt.
Provenance: Adrian Hoffman Joline (bookplate)
Large paper edition, one of only 25 numbered copies: this copy extra-illustrated with letters by Butler, Duer, Spencer and others.
The 1828 revision of the statutes of New York, undertaken by John Duer, Benjamin F. Butler and John C. Spencer, holds a celebrated status in the legal history of the state. It "was the first attempt to create and establish for any commonwealth governed by the English Common Law and by legislative statutes ... of a body of written law systematically arranged, based on the principles of law as a science, regulating the exercise of public and private rights, establishing domestic, property and contract relations and covering the administration of every department of the government, without touching the integrity of the unwritten law, or transcending the proper bound of legislative control" (Goodrich, Restatement and Codification, p. 253). Fearing that the importance of the revision would be lost on future generations, William Allen Butler (B. F. Butler's son and a noted New York lawyer) organized portraits of the revisers to be commissioned and the present work published to detail the history of their project, as well as provide biographical details on their lives. The present issue is a rare large paper edition, limited to 25 numbered copies (this being number 19). An early owner of this copy has extra-illustrated the work with letters by William Allen Butler (3), Benjamin Franklin Butler (3) , Duer (1) and Spencer (1) Francis L. Stetson (1) and Thomas Addis Emmet (1), all on legal matters, some written to each other.