St John's College S.27 (James 419)

Michael Dalton, Legal compendium, and other works. Latin, French and English, 1629-51

Michael Dalton (1564 - c. 1651) of Trinity College, Cambridge and Lincoln's Inn: Legal and theological works. The principal contents are:

  1. Untitled legal compendium, arranged in a broad alphabetical sequence, with indexes. Before 1629, since the index to the maxims on pp. 245-50 is so dated.
  2. 'A breviate of the Controversies betwene the Papists and us, with their severall tenets', concluding with 'Proffes, that the Pope of Rome is Antechrist' and an 'Alphabeticall Table of the Controversies'.
  3. 'Comforts for a troubled Conscience, breifly taken out of Mr Preston, his Saynts Infirmityes', presumably a reference to John Preston, The doctrine of the saints infirmities, first published in 1637.
  4. 'The Lady Dorothy Wrightes Oathe, taken by Commission when the wardship of her sonne was granted to her', with a list of related bonds dated 1624-5. All in another hand.
  5. List of statutes, arranged alphabetically by subject, 'Abilitye' to 'Franchises', written intermittently from the end of the vol. 1651 (at p. 3).

The MS also contains prayers, and notes on the planting of fruit trees, among other brief items. Autograph on first flyleaf: 'Mi. Dalton est verus posessor huius libri Anno Dom: 1639' (faded). Dalton was dead by 1655, see DNB. In a lengthy autobiographcal note on (5), p. 6, Dalton chronicles his life, leaving blank the date of his death for another to complete, and bequeathing the vol. to three of his grandsons (only two named) and their heirs male. This note supplies his date and place of birth - 28 Sep. 1564 at Linton, Cambridgeshire - the dates of his two marriages, and of his first wife's death, the dates on which he was sworn a justice of the peace for Cambridgeshire, and the dates on which he was called to the bar, and sworn a Master of Chancery. There are several annotations and jottings in Dalton's hand, among them 'In no case lend mee / for then you loose mee' inside front cover, and 'My Wealth / The grace of God, a quiett liffe / A contented minde, and an honest wiffe / A good Report, and a frend in stoare / What shall a man neede any more' (third fo. from the end).

Manuscript extra information

325x210 mm. (1) 253 fos (contemporary foliation), and a subsequent unfoliated index; (2) 15 fos (contemporary foliation); (3) 1 fo.; (4) 1 fo.; (5) 72 pp. (contemporary pagination). Michael Dalton's signature and monogram appear throughout. On first flyleaf: '19 Sept 1706, Hen: Tyrrell Dalton Esqre lent me this Book, Theo. Tyrell'. Notes by Thomas Baker on first flyleaf: 'Michael Dalton of West Wratting esqr was son to Oliver Dalton, son and heir apparent to Wm Dalton of West Wratting esqr, which Oliver died Anno 1618, in the life time of his Father. This Michael was bred in Lincoln's Inn etc. He was father to Sir John Dalton of West Wratting Kt. See more in Fuller's Worthies in Cambrideshire', and, following a note listing the contents and ascribing authorship, 'Donum Amicissimi viri J. Perkins SJB nuper Coll: Jo: Socii [John Perkins, d. 1751], modo Rectoris et vicarii de Fulborn ubi Domicilium ac Patrimonium Mich: Dalton Arm: eiusque Haeredum. See MSS: Collect: Vol: 34. Pag. 354.' From an inscription inside the front cover the MS seems to have passed to Michael Dalton, son of the author's son Oliver, in accordance with the author's wishes. Loose within the vol. is a letter from Perkins to Baker at St John's College, dated 21 June 1738, presenting the MS together with MS G.36 (James 203), Dalton's 'The Bible abridged'.

Autograph throughout. Paper. Handsome embossed leather binding with 'MD' in gold at centre of both covers; traces of two pairs of ties, now wanting. 'MD' also on leading edge. The binding utilises fragments of an as yet unidentified fourteenth or fifteenth century MS, with subsequent annotations. Repaired by George Bolton, May 2001.