Two Notable British Trials for Blasphemy, And Their Context [Trials]. [Freedom of the Press]. The Oracle of Reason: Or, Philosophy Vindicated. Volume 1. London: Thomas Paterson, 1842. Numbers 1-52 (with Supplements to Numbers 6 and 52). Complete. Text in parallel columns. [Bound with] Holyoake, George Jacob [1817-1906], Defendant. The Trial of George Jacob Holyoake, On an Indictment for Blasphemy, Before Mr. Justice Erskine, And a Common Jury, At Gloucester, August the 15th, 1842. From Notes Specially Taken by Mr. Hunt; The Authorities Cited in the Defence Being Quoted at Full Length. London: Printed for "The Anti-Persecution Union," by Thomas Paterson, 842. 68 pp. [And] Southwell, Charles, Defendant. Carpenter, William, Reporter. The Trial of Charles Southwell, (Editor of "The Oracle of Reason"), For Blasphemy. Before Sir Charles Wetherall, Recorder of the City of Bristol, January the 14th, 1842. Specially Reported. London: Hetherington, 1842. iv, 104 pp. Octavo (8-1/2" x 5-1/2"). Stab-stitched pamphlets bound into contemporary cloth, gilt title to spine. Some rubbing to extremities with wear to corners and spine ends, faint inkstains and dampstaining to boards. Moderate toning to text, occasional foxing, internally clean. Unique. $1,950. * After breaking away from Robert Owen's socialist movement, Southwell opened a free-thought bookshop in Bristol with William Chilton and John Field in 1841. Holyoake joined him the following year. Southwell and Holyoake went on to establish the Oracle of Reason, a periodical devoted to atheism. After a year the authorities had enough of their publication, and the two editors were tried for blasphemy. Both were acquitted and their trials stand as landmarks in the history of free speech. In 1851 Holyoake would be the defendant in the last blasphemy trial in Great Britain. Our volume is notable because it combines a complete run of the first year of the Oracle with the two trials it provoked. (Publication of the Oracle ceased at the end of 1843). Both trial accounts are scarce, individual issues and a complete runs of Volume 1, are rare.
Book number 60734