A Canadian Pirate, and Other Notable Trials

We at the library would like to offer heartfelt congratulations to Osgoode’s Class of ’55, who recently celebrated their 60th Anniversary reunion! Helmed by Mr Morley Wolfe, the Class of ’55 took this occasion to offer the library a sum collected at their get-together, to be dedicated to collection development. This donation allowed the library to purchase a rare piece of Canadiana, an eight-page pamphlet detailing the trial of a pirate, “a Canadian by birth”, published in Philadelphia in 1800: The Confession of Joseph Baker, A Canadian by Birth, Who, For Murder & Piracy on the High Seas on Board the Schooner Eliza […] Was Tried On the 25th of April, 1800. As far as we can determine, ours is the only copy in Canada.

Our bookseller, from whom we acquired the pamphlet, summarized the already brief account thus:

Baker, whose real name was Boulanger, with La Croix (alias for Peterson) and La Roche (alias for Berrouse or Brous) killed the mate and supercargo on the schooner Eliza, but only wounded Captain Wheland. They agreed to let him live so he could navigate the ship ‘to the Spanish Main.’ Seizing a chance when two of the culprits were below deck, Wheland locked them in the cabin, and with an ax, drove the third into a rigging. He reached St. Kitts fourteen days later, and his three prisoners were brought back to Philadelphia in the U.S. sloop of war Ganges. Baker states that he was born at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, in 1779, and came to New York City in 1799, where he joined with La Roche (Brous) and La Croix (Peterson), probably “a Dane or Swede,” according to Captain Wheland, whose Narrative of the Horrid Murder & Piracy was also published by Folwell at the same time as Baker’s Confession. Wheland’s account is detailed and graphic; Baker’s is even more so. Baker claimed to be a reluctant pirate who was forced into action by La Roche. As he tells it, Baker was ordered by La Roche and La Croix, who had also capitulated to La Roche, to “take the captain’s sword, and if he was a-sleep, to run it through his body, and if I did not do it, they would kill me: I went down but I could not find it in my heart to kill the captain, but struck him on the hand with a hatchet; he then jumped up and made a catch at me, and I then struck him on the head. Immediately I ran up on deck: Brous then attempted to kill me, because I had not killed the captain …” In his Narrative Wheland draws no distinction between Baker and the others that might reduce his culpability. Nor did the court. All were sentenced to hang. The confession is dated May 8th, 1800, one day before Baker and two accomplices were to be executed.

Reading Baker’s confession, I cannot help but be touched by his affirmations of innocence and reluctant participation in the crime. Apparently I’d make a terrible judge. The pamphlet is available online through the Library of Congress here, but if you have a connection through York, you can find higher quality scans through HeinOnline and Early American imprints, Series I, Evans (1639-1800). If Baker’s confession is of interest to you, the Library of Congress maintains an excellent collection of piracy trials, most of which are available online here.

Mr Wolfe, pleased to hear about the purchase facilitated by his class’s generous donation, was kind enough to stop by the library to see our new pamphlet first-hand.


While visiting, Mr Wolfe also took some time to admire another donation of which he was a major part – that of his Notable Trials Library. These book club editions, with their decorated, quarter-leather custom bindings and gilt edges agleam, add distinction to any shelf. These editions are reprints of classic works of trial literature, covering everything from the trial of Socrates right up to the Cold War era’s most contentious courtroom battles. Each book features a short introductory essay by celebrated American lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz that contextualizes the trial and explains just why it is “notable”. From historic precedents to the attendant media frenzies, reverberations from these trials ring throughout the legal landscape still. Dershowitz himself is, among other things, a noted criminal lawyer. He is perhaps best remembered in this capacity for representing Claus von Bülow for the attempted murder of his wife, Sunny von Bülow, recounted in Dershowitz’s own Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bülow Case (which is, of course, one of the volumes in this collection). A list of Mr. Wolfe’s trial library can be viewed here.

A sincere thank you to Mr. Wolfe and the rest of the Class of ’55 for their donations to our collections! We’re always on the lookout for Legal Canadiana and were happy to be able to add this curious account of a Canadian pirate to our trial holdings.

Canada Added to the Library of Congress Indigenous Law Portal

Law Library of CongressThis is a wonderful gift from our neighbours to the south. On June 21, in celebration of our National Aboriginal Day, the Law Library of Congress opened the Canadian portion of their Indigenous Law Portal, expanding the portal’s coverage for the first time beyond the United States. The Canadian portion of the Indigenous Law Portal is divided into three regions: Eastern, Western, and Northern Canada.  These regions closely follow the recently updated K Class – Law Classification.  There is an alphabetical master list of Individual First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples. The list can also be browsed can be accessed from one  of , or browsed either by region or by province.

National Aboriginal Day began in 1996. A Proclamation declaring June 21 of each year as National Aboriginal Day made the summer solstice, June 21, a day to recognize the heritage, culture, and achievements of Canada’s indigenous peoples. National Aboriginal Day is the first of the a series of national celebrations, followed by Saint Jean-Baptiste Day (La Fête nationale du Québec) on June 24 and Canada Day on July 1.

Read more on the Law Library of Congress’s blog post.


Recent Acquisitions, June 15 – June 22, 2015

100 new acquisitions in Osgoode Hall Law School Library, including 20 from 2015:

The Jarvis-Irving Collection

Samuel Jarvis, 1792-1857

Samuel Jarvis, 1792-1857

In several separate purchases over the past year, the Osgoode Library has managed to acquire a collection of law books, the Jarvis-Irving Collection, comprising 32 titles (67 volumes) that belonged to Samuel Peters Jarvis (1792-1857), a lawyer and prominent Toronto citizen and member of the Family Compact in Upper Canada.

Jarvis was born in Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) in 1792, when it was the capital of the colony of Upper Canada. His father, William Jarvis, enjoyed the patronage of Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe, who granted him the offices of provincial secretary and registrar. Samuel Jarvis was educated at Reverend  John Strachan‘s Grammar School in Cornwall, after which he took up legal studies in the office of Attorney General William Firth. His articles were interrupted by the War of 1812, in which he saw considerable action, including service with Major-General Sir Isaac Brock at the capture of Detroit and at the Battle of Queenston Heights. He was called to Bar in 1815.

Though from an established family and well-positioned for success, Jarvis’s fiery temperament and impetuous nature initially thwarted his chances at preferment. In 1817, he killed John Ridout, son of Surveyor General Thomas Ridout, in a duel, though he was later exonerated. In 1826, with a group of other Tory young bloods, he invaded and ransacked the offices of William Lyon Mackenzie, an offence for which he was heavily fined. Despite these blots on his character, Jarvis was appointed deputy provincial secretary and registrar by Lieutenant Governor Sir Peregrine Maitland in 1827, and subsequently Chief Superintendent of Indian Affairs by Lieutenant Governor Sir Francis Bond Head in 1837. Jarvis did not prove a great success in either of these roles. After several investigations into mismanagement, the office of Chief Superintendent was abolished in in 1845 and Jarvis, in disgrace, retired to private life. Faced with financial problems, he subdivided and sold off most of the 100-acre park east of Yonge Street in Toronto that he had inherited from his father. In 1847, Hazelburn, the house he had built there 23 years earlier, was torn town to make way for for the street which still bears Jarvis’s name. Jarvis died in 1857.

This collection is called the Jarvis-Irving Collection, as it was subsequently passed on to Jarvis’s daughter-in-law’s brother, Sir Aemilius Irving (1823-1913), the longest-serving Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada. We are extremely proud of this collection, as it is rare to be able to rebuild such a substantial collection of law books from so early a period in our national and legal history.

Recent Acquisitions, June 8 – June 15, 2015

55 new acquisitions in Osgoode Hall Law School Library, including 45 from 2015:

  • BL 65 L33 R85 2014

    The rule of law and the rule of God

    Palgrave Macmillan 2014

    vi, 284 pages ; 23 cm

  • K 1327 O36 2015

    Behavioural risks in corporate governance : regulatory intervention as a risk management mechanism


    xi, 271 pages ; 25 cm.

  • K 1420.5 D73 2015

    What's wrong with copying?

    Harvard University Press 2015

    xi, 272 pages ; 25 cm.

  • K 1460 T67 2015

    Artists' rights : a guide to copyright, moral rights and other legal issues in the visual art sphere

    Allworth Communications, Inc. 2015

    xii, 241 pages : illustrations (some colour) ; 25 cm

  • K 1763 P76 2015

    Protecting labour rights in a multi-polar supply chain and mobile global economy

    Aspen Publishers 2015

    xiv, 194 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

  • K 3165 A6 I53 2012

    Freedom and its enemies : the tragedy of liberty

    Eleven International Pub 2015

    xii, 231 pages ; 25 cm.

  • K 3258 C76 2015

    Constitutions and religious freedom

    Cambridge University Press 2015

    x, 259 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.

  • K 3275 G74 2015

    Justice and authority in immigration law

    Hart Pub Limited 2015

    xi, 241 pages ; 24 cm

  • K 346 S25 2015

    The psychology of law : human behavior, legal institutions, and law


    xi, 188 pages ; 26 cm.

  • K 3465 V33 2010

    The force of law

    Groundwood Books, 2010

    144 pages ; 19 cm.

  • K 3585 R56 2015

    The Rio declaration on environment and development : a commentary


    liii, 665 pages ; 26 cm.

  • K 370 B33 2015

    Social systems theory and judicial review : taking jurisprudence seriously

    Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 2015

    xvi, 170 pages ; 24 cm.

  • K 3820 M34 2015

    The MDGs, capabilities and human rights : the power of numbers to shape agendas


    viii, 191 pages ; 26 cm

  • K 3850 D86 2015

    Competition law and economic regulation : making and managing markets

    Cambridge University Press 2015

    xvii, 373 pages ; 24 cm

  • K 4460 R65 2014

    Proportionality and fair taxation


    xvi, 240 pages ; 25 cm.

  • K 4475.4 H65 2014

    International tax policy and double tax treaties : an introduction to principles and application


    xxiv, 432 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.

  • K 4505 F48 2014

    Triangular cases : the application of bilateral income tax treaties in multilateral situations


    xxii, 874 pages ; 24 cm.

  • K 5210 B76 2015

    Hate speech law : a philosophical examination


    xvi, 362 pages ; 24 cm.

  • K 585 M48 2007

    The civil law tradition : an introduction to the legal systems of Europe and Latin America

    Stanford University Press, 2007

    x, 173 pages ; 22 cm.

  • KBP 440.62 N39 H35 2015

    Legal authority in premodern Islam : Yaḥyā b. Sharaf al-nawawī in the Shāfi'i school of law

    Routledge 2015

    xvi, 132 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.

  • KF 1070 D66 2015

    Chasing the tape : information law and policy in capital markets

    MIT Press 2015

    xxii, 357 pages ; 24 cm.

  • KF 1070 M34 2015

    Wasting a crisis : why securities regulation fails


    xi, 202 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

  • KF 1296 Z9 P45 2015

    Products liability in a nutshell

    West Academic Publishing 2015

    xxxiii, 565 pages ; 19 cm.

  • KF 220 F75 2015

    The big trial : law as public spectacle

    MIT Press 2015

    225 pages ; 23 cm

  • KF 250 S54 2015

    Persuasive legal writing

    Aspen Publishers 2015

    xvi, 221 pages ; 26 cm.

  • KF 2905.3 P735 2015

    Medical negligence in Victorian Britain : the crisis of care under the English Poor Law, c.1834-1900

    Bloomsbury Publishing 2015

    xi, 235 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm

  • KF 298 U73 2005

    Urban lawyers : the new social structure of the bar

    University of Chicago Press, 2005

    xx, 376 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

  • KF 3555 W65 2015

    A class by herself: : protective laws for women workers, 1890s-1990s

    Princeton University Press 2015

    vii, 337 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.

  • KF 3775 C365 2015

    Environment in the balance : the green movement and the Supreme Court

    Harvard University Press 2015

    374 pages ; 25 cm

  • KF 390.5 H85 S92 2015

    Banking on the body : the market in blood, milk, and sperm in modern America

    Harvard University Press 2014

    333 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

  • KF 4482 W425 2015

    The constitution of Canada : a contextual analysis

    Hart Pub Limited 2015

    xxii, 282 pages ; 22 cm.

  • KF 4486 B6481 2015

    Beyond Magna Carta : a constitution for the United Kingdom

    Bloomsbury Publishing 2015

    x, 303 pages ; 24 cm

  • KF 4486 M343 2015

    Magna Carta : the foundation of freedom, 1215-2015

    Third Millenium Pub 2015

    192 pages : colored illustrations, maps, portraits ; 29 cm.

  • KF 4486 S7957 2015

    Magna Carta : the true story behind the Charter

    Quercus 2015

    285 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some colour); 23 cm

  • KF 4581 B73 2015

    International law in the U.S. legal system

    Oxford University Press 2015

    xvi, 376 pages ; 24 cm

  • KF 4774 S39 2015

    Democracy in the dark : the seduction of government secrecy

    New Press, The 2015

    x, 350 pages ; 25 cm

  • KF 479 Z9 R36 2015

    Children and the law in a nutshell.

    West Academic Publishing 2015

    xxxvii, 603 pages ; 19 cm.

  • KF 5627 C48 2015

    Coastal and ocean management law in a nutshell

    West Academic Publishing 2015

    xxv, 526 pages ; 19 cm.

  • KF 8205 C36 2015

    American Indian law in a nutshell

    West Academic 2015

    xlv, 570 pages ; 19 cm.

  • KF 849 L83 2015

    Privatising public prisons : labour law and the public procurement process

    Hart Pub Limited 2015

    xii, 244 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

  • KF 8748 M475 2015

    Injustices : the Supreme Court's history of comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted


    xv, 351 pages ; 25 cm

  • KF 8935 Z9 G7 2015

    Federal rules of evidence in a nutshell

    West Academic Publishing 2015

    xxxviii, 758 pages ; 19 cm.

  • KJA 147 C335 2015

    The Cambridge companion to Roman law

    Cambridge University Press 2015

    xiii, 539 pages ; 24 cm

  • KJC 510 N49 2015

    Law and the making of the Soviet world : the red demiurge

    Routledge 2015

    ix, 300 pages ; 24 cm

  • KJC 5132 P67 2015

    Post-communist transitional justice : lessons from twenty-five years of experience

    Cambridge University Press 2015

    xvi, 340 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

  • KJE 4445 E9714 2014

    European constitutionalism : historical and contemporary perspectives

    Peter Lang Gmbh, Internationaler Verlag Der Wissenschaften 2014

    166 pages ; 22 cm.

  • KJE 6044 H47 2014

    The rule of law in the external dimension of EU migration and asylum policy : organisational dynamics between legitimation and constraint

    Environmental Law Inst 2014

    xviii, 287 pages ; 24 cm

  • KZ 1256 M37 2015

    Public purpose in international law : rethinking regulatory sovereignty in the global era

    Cambridge University Press 2015

    xvi, 453 pages ; 24 cm

  • KZ 1321 W35 2015

    Intimations of global law

    Cambridge University Press 2015

    x, 212 pages ; 24 cm.

  • KZ 4041 S46 2015

    Sovereignty referendums in international and constitutional law

    Springer 2015

    xiii, 298 pages ; 25 cm

  • KZ 6250 J64 2015

    Strengthening international courts : the hidden costs of legalization

    University of Michigan Press 2015

    x, 230 pages ; 24 cm.

  • KZ 7145 S36 2015

    Taking economic, social and cultural rights seriously in international criminal law

    Cambridge University Press 2015

    xxix, 359 pages ; 24 cm.

  • KZ 7230 G65 2015

    International judicial institutions : the architecture of international justice at home and abroad

    Routledge 2015

    187 pages ; 22 cm.

  • PG 3328 Z7 L3 2015

    Dostoevsky and the law


    xiii, 308 pages ; 24 cm

  • PS 1541 Z5 G885 2015

    A kiss from Thermopylae : Emily Dickinson and law


    ix, 256 pages ; 24 cm

    • Some books have cover images provided by Google.

      All other data © Osgoode Hall Law School.

Recent Acquisitions, June 1 – June 8, 2015

4 new acquisitions in Osgoode Hall Law School Library, including 4 from 2015:

Recent Acquisitions, May 25 – June 1, 2015

29 new acquisitions in Osgoode Hall Law School Library, including 22 from 2015: