Matthew Bacon was an eighteenth century commentator on the laws of England. His major work, A New Abridgement of the Law, collected court cases that would be of interest to lawyers looking for precedents, and described them in abridged form. Bacon's Abridgement became a standard law text that was referred to frequently. Bacon died before completing the text; the titles commencing with Simony and ending with Verdict, were added by Serjeant Sayer and the residue of the titles by Owen Ruffhead.

Bacon's Abridgement was often used in teaching, as well as in court. In the Jefferson Cyclopedia, A Comprehensive Collection of the Views of Thomas Jefferson edited by John Foley in 1900, under the heading "Lawyers" is this note about the Abridgement:

This gives numerous applications of the old principles to new cases, and gives the general state of the English law at that period. Here, too, the student should take up the Chancery branch of the law, by reading the first and second abridgments of the cases in Equity. The second is by the same Matthew Bacon, the first having been published some time before. The alphabetical order adopted by Bacon, is certainly not as satisfactory as the systematic. But the arrangement is under very general and leading heads, and these, indeed, with very little difficulty, might be systematically instead of alphabetically arranged and read.


Biography of
Matthew Bacon (fl. 1730)