Offences against the Law of the Realm,
Summarized for Non-Lawyers by anOpenly Practicing Catholic, withEarly English-Language Evidence of Readership
Pulton, Ferdinando. De pace regis et regni, viz. a treatise declaring which be the great and generall offences of the realme, and the chiefe impediments of the peace of the king and the kingdome ... London: Pr. [by Adam Islip] for the Companie of Stationers, 1609. Folio (29 cm, 11.4").  pp., 258, , [1 (blank)] ff. [SOLD]
Click the images for enlargements.
First editionof one of the earliest English treatises dedicated to criminal law, a work that greatly influenced the 1648 Lawes and Liberties of Massachusetts. Much of the main text is printed in black letter; each section begins with a woodcut headpiece and decorative initial.
The online DNB writes of Pulton: “A Catholic who supported Elizabeth I and James I, his interest in theology, Roman and biblical law, and the strict execution of the criminal law allowed him to retain the critical support of James and Thomas Egerton, Baron Ellesmere, the lord chancellor.” That same source says of this work that it is “a major treatise on criminal offences.”
Evidence of readership: This copy was thoughtfully engaged with by at least two early readers: The verso of the title-page is completely filled with observations in English about Papists in England, and the reception of the ideas of Luther, Melanchthon, and others. The title-page itself has two short paragraphs in English of interest. On43 other pages are Latin and English marginal observations commenting on the text, these being as short as five words, as long as a paragraph,or filling the margins top and bottom. If a blank page is available, it too will be filled! Sections on Oppression, Treason, Forfeiture, Corruption of the Blood, etc., are annotated with particular density.
ESTC S116053; STC (rev. ed.) 20495; Sweet & Maxwell 365. 18th-century speckled plain calf, rebacked with similar calf, spine with gilt-stamped leather label and gilt-ruled raised bands; sides and edges scuffed, corners worn. Several instances of early underlining; annotations as above with many shaved in the 18th-century rebinding, though generally not threatening sense; one leaf with ink smudges in lower margins. A solid and interesting copy of an important work, with marginalia demonstrating contemporary reception. (34376)