Early Law and Custom in a Handsome Prize Binding Maine, Sir Henry Sumner [1822-1888]. On Early Law and Custom. 402 pp. Octavo (8-1/2" x 5-1/2"). Contemporary signed morocco binding (by J. Low), all edges gilt, gilt spine with raised bands, gilt heraldic device of the Law Society of the United Kingdom to front board, presentation bookplate to front free endpaper. Light rubbing to extremities, negligible light fading to spine, boards slightly bowed, crack to text block between front free endpaper and following leaf. Interior notably fresh. "New Edition." First published in 1883 as, Dissertations on Early Law and Custom. Like the equally distinguished Village Communities in the East and the West (1871) and the Early History of Institutions (1875), this treatise considers aspects of traditional societies to establish and illustrate the normal process of development in legal and political ideas, most notably freedom of contract. "Maine indicates the place in the development of a legal system of such agencies as legal fictions and equity. He explains the history of the concept of a law of nature; and in his account of the contrast between primitive and modern society--between the place which the law of persons occupies in primitive and modern law--he comes to the famous conclusion that the government of progressive societies has been from status to contract.": Holdsworth, History of English Law XV: 363-4. British Museum Catalogue (Compact Edition) 16: 600.
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