RARE FIRST EDITION OF KAMES' GROUNDBREAKING WORK ON COMPARATIVE LAW
[KAMES, Lord, peerage title of HOME, Henry]. Historical Law-Tracts. Edinburgh: Printed for A. Millar, 1758. Octavo, contemporary mottled brown calf sympathetically rebacked, raised bands, original red morocco spine label. $2200.
Rare first edition of Kames' work comparing the English and Scottish legal systems and also investigating Roman law, handsomely bound.
"The Historical Law Tracts of Lord Kames are conducted upon a very judicious system of investigating the natural principles of some of the most important objects of judicial science, and tracing the application of them in the Laws of Rome, of Scotland, and of England; but a comparison between the Laws of Scotland and England, conducted, I think with great fairness, is apparently the leading object of the undertaking" (William David Evans). "Above all in the Historical Law-Tracts (1758), Kames made it clear that judicial systems and legal concepts were properly historical constructs, adhering to certain universal principles of development which in turn led them to reflect the different circumstances of communities at particular points in time: it followed, of course, that 'Law in particular becomes then only a rational study, when it is traced historically, from its first rudiments among savages through successive changes, to its highest improvements in a civilized society'" (Woolf, et al., Oxford History of Historical Writing). With typed signed letter from the National Library of Scotland laid in stating that the library "does not possess a copy of the first edition of this work" and offering collation information from the copy at the Signet Library.
Only light occasional foxing to interior, light rubbing to contemporary boards. A near-fine copy. Rare.