Digital Commonwealth

True copie of the court booke of the Governor and society of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, 1640-1646

Item Information

True copie of the court booke of the Governor and society of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, 1640-1646
Title (alt.) :
True copy of the court book
True copie of the court book
True copy of the court booke
A transcription of various records pertaining to the establishment and governance of the Massachusetts Bay Colony prepared between the years 1640 and 1646 by Thomas Lechford and others. This manuscript documents the pre-migration business of the Massachusetts Bay Company beginning in 1629, along with rulings of the General Court and the Court of Assistants of the Massachusetts Bay Colony through 1646.
Lechford, Thomas, approximately 1590-1644?
Symonds, Samuel
Bellingham, Richard, 1592?-1672
Endecott, John, 1588?-1665
Former owner:
Hutchinson, Edward, 1613-1675
Former owner:
Hutchinson, Thomas, 1711-1780
Former owner:
Aspinwall, Thomas, 1786-1876
Former owner:
Barlow, Samuel L. M. (Samuel Latham Mitchill), 1826-1889
Business records
Boston Public Library
Rare Books Department
Collection (local):
Colonial and Revolutionary Boston (Collection of Distinction)
Law--Massachusetts--17th century
Law--Colonies--United States
Massachusetts--History--17th century
Massachusetts--Law and legislation--17th century
Massachusetts Bay Company
[2], 1-75, 78-134, 137-223, [1], 224-264, 264-312, [2] p., bound ; 37 cm.
Terms of Use:
No known copyright restrictions.
No known restrictions on use.
Access to physical copy/copies by appointment only. Please contact Boston Public Library Rare Books and Manuscripts Department for further information.
Notes (ownership):
The manuscript passed under unknown circumstances to Edward Hutchinson (1613-1675), son of Anne Hutchinson. It was removed to England by Thomas Hutchinson (1711-1780) and returned to the United States in 1853 by Thomas Aspinwall, U.S. consul in London, who sold it to Samuel Latham Mitchill Barlow in 1864.
Notes (acquisition):
Purchased by the BPL in 1890 through the Barlow sale (catalog #2765).
Title from caption; dates of creation from Whitmore, W.H. A Bibliographical Sketch of the Laws of the Massachusetts Colony from 1630 to 1686.
According to Whitmore, the first 224 pages were prepared ca. 1640-1641 for Governor John Endecott and are in the hand of Thomas Lechford.
William P. Upham suggests that the remainder of the manuscript (or a significant portion thereof) is in the hand of Samuel Symonds (ca. 1595-1678). See: Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, vol. 5 (Boston: The Society, 1902) pp. 144-146.
Marginal notes on pages 226 through 252 are in the hand of Governor Richard Bellingham. See: BPL Bulletin (vol. 9, no. 1: April, 1890) p. 207.
The original document, from which this manuscript was copied, is now housed at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives and is known as: Court records, volumes 1-5 (CT0-1700x). For an extensive comparison between the documents, see: Records of the Court of Assistants of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, 1630-1692, vol. 2 (Boston: County of Suffolk, 1904).
Notes (object):
Including the first leaf, on the recto of which is an 18th-century inscription in the hand of Governor Thomas Hutchinson, the manuscript as currently constituted is comprised of 314 numbered and unnumbered pages, including blanks. Pages 135 and 136 are missing. Numbers 76-77 are omitted in pagination and 264 is repeated in pagination. Page 312 continues onto an unnumbered half-leaf, the verso of which is blank. Pages 5 and 6 are blank and there is a blank page between 223 and 224.
Previous binding of full reverse calf housed separately with accompanying slipcase. Presently housed in a post binding with each leaf encapsulated in polyester film. Conserved in 2013 by Northeast Document Conservation Center.
Call #:
RARE BKS MS f Am. 2176