Laws of the Colony of Hong Kong. 1841–54
Laws of the Colony of Hong Kong. 1841–54 [&] Ordinances of Hong Kong, 1844,54. [&] Rules of Court. [together with]; Ordinances of Hong Konh, 1854–1864.
- Publication place: [Hong Kong
- Publication date: 1855–65].
- Physical description: 2 volumes, small folio (323 x 195mm); original brown cloth, the first volume zig-zag grained with ornate blind panels to the boards, and Royal Arms in gilt to the upper board, the second in a plain sub-grained cloth. Almost entirely on blue paper-stock, volume I, viii, 490 pages; volume II: 16-page manuscript table of emendations throughout. Somewhat rubbed and soiled, both volumes rebacked, Foreign Office blindstamps to all boards, and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Library withdrawn stamps to the front free endpapers, bookplates of the British North Borneo Company to the front free endpaper of the first volume which is somewhat chipped at the fore-edge, contents variably toned and spotted in places, but clean and sound.
- Inventory reference: 3160
With the ownership inscription of Julian, later Sir Julian, Pauncefote probably Hong Kong’s most prominent early legal administrator. Pauncefote’s private fortune was wiped out by a bank crash in 1860, and he “determined to repair his fortune by legal practice abroad and in 1862 sailed for Hong Kong accompanied by his wife and newborn daughter” (ODNB). At the time the colony “was a turbulent place, and crime and piracy were rife. In May 1866 Pauncefote was appointed acting attorney-general of the colony, and on 22 July attorney-general, a post which left him free to continue his private practice and accumulate a moderate fortune (which, however, he lost in a second crash in 1874). Over the next seven years he worked with Governor Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell to reform the police and improve the administration of justice, being himself responsible for preparation of the colony’s code of civil procedure. As attorney-general Pauncefote also deputized for the chief justice of the supreme court while the latter was on leave”. The title page of the first volume has the pencil inscription “The Chief Justice”. Pauncefote left Hong Kong in December 1973, and was knighted for his services. Subsequently he serves as legal assistant permanent under-secretary to, successively, the Colonial Office and at the Foreign Office, a post specifically created for him by Lord Derby, and was a delegate to the European commission on the navigation of the Danube, and the international commission of the Suez Canal. In 1889 he was made minister — de facto ambassador — to the United States. On his death in 1902 “President Roosevelt broke with precedent by flying the American flag at half-mast on the White House and personally attended the official funeral ceremony organized b the American government.“
A historically significant publication, with a superb provenance from which it can be inferred that its issue was as an internal aide memoire for those centrally involved in the creation of Hong Kong’s legal and administrative infrastructure.