First American Edition of One of The First Books on the Law of "Idiocy and Lunacy" Highmore, A[nthony] [1758-1829]. A Treatise on the Law of Idiocy and Lunacy. To Which is Subjoined an Appendix, Comprising a Selection of American Cases; In Which Some Important Subjects of This Treatise Have Been Investigated and New Principles Settled. Exeter, NH: Published by George Lamson, 1822. x, , 194 pp. Octavo (8-1/2" x 5"). Contemporary three-quarter sheep over paper boards, green lettering piece and blind fillets to spine. Light rubbing and a few ink spots to boards, moderate rubbing to extremities, minor scuffing to spine, corners bumped and somewhat worn, front joint and hinge just starting at head, faint early owner signature in pencil (of H. Stephens) and later owner signature (of Dr. Edward Gillespie, dated 1929) to front pastedown. Moderate toning, light foxing to some leaves, a few leaves have early marks to margins. A choice copy. $1,500. * Only American edition, based on the first London edition, 1807. One of the very first books on the topic, Highmore's treatise examines precedents concerning the insane and their treatment under the law. It discusses the meaning of "ideot," non compos mentis and lunacy, as well as the custody of lunatics, commission of the insane to hospitals or asylums, habeas corpus, disability and recovery of the insane, regulations of asylums and criminal cases involving the insane. Highmore, a British legal writer and solicitor, was secretary to the London Lying-In Hospital. This American edition has a 27-page Appendix with valuable information on the insanity plea and the American criminal justice system at the time. It replaces that of the 1807 English edition which relates only to English courts. Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 8818.
Book number 69413