First English-Language Edition of "One of the Most Influential Books in the Whole History of Criminology" Beccaria, [Cesare Bonesana, Marchese di] [1738-1794]. Voltaire (Arouet, Francois-Marie) [1694-1778]. An Essay on Crimes and Punishments, Translated from the Italian; With a Commentary, Attributed to Mons. De Voltaire, Translated from the French. London: Printed for J. Almon, 1767. xii, 179, , lxxix,  pp. Last page blank. Octavo (8" x 5"). Contemporary sprinkled calf, raised bands and lettering piece to spine. A few minor nicks and scuffs to boards, moderate rubbing to extremities with some wear to spine ends and corners, joints starting at ends, armorial bookplate of Hans Sloane to front pastedown, his signature to head of title page. Light toning to text, somewhat heavier in places, light foxing to a few leaves. Book housed in custom quarter morocco over cloth clamshell box, gilt-edged raised bands and gilt title to spine. $5,000. * First edition in English. First published anonymously in Livorno in 1764 as Dei Delitti e Delle Pene, this landmark work is, to quote Printing and the Mind of Man, "one of the most influential books in the whole history of criminology... and a work whose impact "can hardly be exaggerated." It is significant because it was the first systematic study of the subject. Infused with the spirit of the Enlightenment, its advocacy of crime prevention and the abolition of torture and capital punishment marked a significant advance in criminological thought, which had changed little since the Middle Ages. It had a profound influence on the development of criminal law. It was especially influential among American thinkers, such as Thomas Jefferson, who wished to use Beccaria to reform the system of criminal law Americans inherited from England. Sloane was the son of Sir Hans Sloane [1660-1753], the important physician, naturalist and collector. (Donated to the nation, his collection of nearly 71,000 items became the foundation of the British Museum, British Library and Natural History Museum, London.) Carter and Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man 209 (citing first edition). Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson 2349.
Book number 70919