"A Remarkable Precursor" to Bentham Eden, William. Principles of Penal Law. London: Printed for B. White, in Fleet-Street; and T. Cadell, 1771. xxvii, 331 pp. Reprinted 2009 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN-13: 9781584779513. ISBN-10: 1584779519. Hardcover. New. $45. * Second edition. First published in 1771, this important treatise reached its third and final edition in 1775. "The first person to review English criminal law at once critically and comprehensively was William Eden.... [His] book is a pioneer treatise. It discusses topics which, under the influence of Bentham and Romilly, aroused much attention in the last years of the eighteenth and the first years of the nineteenth century; and it discussed them effectively, because, as the author says in his closing chapter he had tried to establish his principles not as abstract propositions, 'but rather as argumentative inferences, interwoven with, and to be collected from, observations on the penal systems of different governments. (...) The conclusion which he draws, that the reform of the English penal code 'is become an important and almost necessary work,' is irresistible. (...) The book is a remarkable precursor of that new era of agitation for the reform of the law, which, under Bentham's leadership, was soon to begin" (Holdsworth). Eden [1744-1814], later Lord Auckland, was a friend an able supporter of William Pitt. A lawyer, diplomat and politician, he tried unsuccessfully to enact legislation based on his treatise when he was a member of the House of Commons. Holdsworth, A History of English Law XII:364-65.
Book number 53962