Ad Spot

Alabama Chief Justice shares historic book set with Rotarians

The Andalusia Rotary Club hosted Alabama Chief Justice Tom Parker who shared with the members the story of a set of law books of great historical significance.

Parker purchased the mixed first edition of “Commentaries on the Laws of England” by William Blackstone. It is widely agreed that Blackstone and his commentaries played a big role in the earliest development of laws and government of the United States.

“Research shows that Blackstone was the second most cited thinker in America from 1760-1805, behind (French judge) Montesquieu. This is a legal writer who was having this influence on American politics,” Parker said.

But, the books purchased by the judge have a unique history beyond the significance of the author and its content.

The set features first editions originally published in 1766, 1767, 1768 and 1869. While Parker purchased the set at a New York auction, he didn’t learn until later that the set originated in what is now Alabama with its first owner being Edmund Rush Wegg, the attorney general of British West Florida, an area that encompassed the Florida Panhandle north to what is now Montgomery. Wegg resided on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay at what is now known as Battles Wharf. After the Revolutionary War, Wegg joined the colony of British exiles in the Bahamas where he was appointed attorney general.

The second owner of the set was William Wylly, who had fought against the colonials as a captain in the King’s Rangers. He fled his native Georgia after the war after the legislature there indicted him for treason. He became solicitor general in the Bahamas. Wylly eventually converted to Methodism and became a vocal abolitionist.

William Jones, who fought with Washington at Trenton and Princeton before serving in the Continental Navy, was the third owner of the volumes. After the way, Jones opened a shipping firm in Charleston, later returning to his hometown of Philadelphia and was elected to Congress. He was appointed to Secretary of the Navy by President James Madison during the latter half of the War of 1812. He sent his own shipbuilders to build the vessels that Thomas McDonough used to defeat the British on Lake Champlain. After the war, he was selected to serve as president of the Second Bank of the United States.

The fourth owner, whose signature stamp appears inside, is Martin van Buren, the eighth president of the United States.

When Alabama’s Chief Justice purchased the set of books in New York, he brought them back to the area where they were first owned by Wegg on the Eastern Shore over 250 years ago.

“We know the books went to the Bahamas and that they went to New York. Now, they have come back to Alabama. Isn’t it amazing that we can see, depicted in the owners of this set, the currents that were affecting the globe at that time,” Parker said.

News

The other side of the gas story: Covington County local wants others to think before judging

News

South Alabama Young Men’s Association plans eventful summer

News

Andalusia Ballet seniors prep for last performance

News

From uncertainty to the sky: Brock lands first flight job

News

MOORE ROAD CLOSED BETWEEN 8 AM AND 2 PM THURSDAY

News

Andalusia locals start non-profit to mentor youth of the area

News

Probate Office will update voting machines

News

Covington County BOE makes personnel decisions

News

WALT MASSEY TO UNDERGO $2.5 MILLION EXPANSION

News

Mizell to celebrate National Hospitals Week

News

Burrows named 2021 Mizell IMAGE Maker recipient

News

COLONIAL PIPELINE HACK CAUSES GAS PANIC BUYING: Vast majority of Covington County gas comes from Plantation pipeline

News

Ivey announces end of participation in all Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Programs: Covington County sees decrease in unemployment in March

News

Covington County Judson alumni react to college closing

News

Edmondson: The epitome of a great mother

News

Andalusia Ballet’s AIM High Outreach Program has successful year

News

Andalusia expert offers families tips for skill-building at home this Better Hearing and Speech Month

News

AHS alumnus to intern with Walmart

News

ALABAMA HOUSE APPROVES MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL: Rep. Jones proposes amendment to remove depression from list of conditions

News

Alabama House takes no vote on medical marijuana after 9-hour debate: Andalusia native that started California cannabis business supports bill legalizing medical marijuana

News

Perfect storm of supply, demand causes lumber prices to skyrocket

News

Alabama Chief Justice shares historic book set with Rotarians

News

City to move forward with demolition on College Street

News

Ivey announces COVID-19 Public Health Order and State of Emergency to end