“POST-REVOLUTIONARY MOOD OF INDEPENDENCE”: 1788 AMERICAN EDITION OF THE CONDUCTOR GENERALIS, REVISED AND COMPILED BY NEW YORK’S PETER VAN SCHAACK
(VAN SCHAACK, Peter). The Conductor Generalis, Or The Office, Duty and Authority of Justices of the Peace… To which are added, (Above what is in any other Edition of this Work,) The Act called the Ten Pound Act, and the Militia Law of the State of New-York. New-York: Printed by Hugh Gaine, 1788. Octavo, contemporary full brown sheep rebacked with original spine laid down, red morocco spine label. $1200.
Scarce 1788 edition of the Conductor Generalis, one of the first American legal works to incorporate a “general post-revolutionary mood of independence” from English Justice of the Peace manuals, this newly revised edition compiled by controversial New York jurist Peter Van Schaack, in contemporary sheep.
“In keeping with the general post-revolutionary mood of independence from English manners,” American legal institutions found the English Justice of the Peace manuals to be in immediate need of revision. In 1788 James Parker, in his manual printed in New Jersey, “urged readers to prefer American to English manuals for studying the JP’s duties, because the English manuals had grown too full of unnecessary matter, inapplicable to American situations” (Helmholz, Privilege Against Self-Incrimination, 139). That same year New York lawyer Peter Van Schaack drew upon Parker’s and other models for this revised edition that newly includes the 1787 Ten Pound Act (236) and the 1786 New York Militia Law (259). In the years leading to Revolution Van Schaack, who opposed British taxation, was caught in a controversy over his disapproval of revolution. Briefly exiled in England, Van Schaack returned in 1785 and soon established “a thriving practice in upstate New York, where he became known as ‘the great lawyer… [In 1788] he compiled materials for another edition of the popular Conductor Generalis, a well-known manual that assisted justices of the peace, sheriffs and other local officials in the conduct of their respective offices” (ANB). Preceded by the extraordinarily rare 1711 manual of 176 pages. This edition misattributed to James Parker in Evans 21358. New York State Library Annual Report (1919), 101. See Sabin 58682. Owner inscriptions.
Text fresh with only light scattered foxing, expert restoration to contemporary sheep binding. An extremely good copy.