"A Remarkable Precursor" to Bentham [Eden, William, Baron Auckland (1744-1814)]. Principles of Penal Law. Dublin: Printed for John Milliken, 1772. xxvii, , 331,  pp. Octavo (8-1/4" x 5"). Contemporary calf, rebacked in period style, blind fillets to boards, raised bands and retained contemporary lettering piece to spine. A few minor nicks and scuffs to boards, some rubbing to board edges with wear to corners, hinges partially cracked. Light toning to text, slightly heavier in places, negligible light foxing to a few leaves. A handsome copy. $450. * "Third" edition, actually a reprint of the 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, A History of English Law XII:364-65. English Short-Title Catalogue T136250.
Book number 67341