"A Remarkable Precursor" to Bentham [Eden, William, Baron Auckland (1744-1814)]. Principles of Penal Law. London: Printed for B. White and T. Cadell, 1771. xxvii, 331 pp. with half-title. Octavo (8-1/4" x 5-1/4"). Contemporary calf, blind rules to boards, blind fillets along joints, gilt-edged raised bands and lettering piece to spine, blind tooling to board edges. Light rubbing and a few minor scuffs to boards, moderate rubbing to extremities, front joint cracked, rear joint starting, contemporary armorial bookplate (of Joseph Pickford, Esq.) and annotation to front pastedown, some offsetting to endleaves. Light toning to interior, light foxing to a few leaves, early annotation to p. 124. A handsome copy. $650. * Second edition, published the same year as the first edition. 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 T144607.
Book number 72584