Two Nineteenth-Century American Pamphlets Concerning the Abolition of Imprisonment for Debt Stilwell, Silas M. [1800-1881]. An Act to Abolish Imprisonment for Debt, And to Punish Fraudulent Debtors. Passed April 26, 1831. Also, A Synopsis of the Same. New York: Printed and Published by Elliott and Palmer, 1832. 24 pp. [Bound with] Johnson, Richard M. [1780-1850]. Speech of Col. Richard M. Johnson, of Kentucky, On a Proposition to Abolish Imprisonment for Debt, Submitted by Him to the Senate of the United States, January 14, 1823. Boston: Printed for the Society for the Relief of the Distressed, By E.G. House, 1823. 23,  pp. Octavo (8-1/2" x 5"). Stab-stitched pamphlets bound into later three-quarter morocco-grained calf over marbled boards, which are neatly detached, gilt title to spine, marbled endpapers. Light rubbing to boards, moderate rubbing to extremities, chipping to spine ends, later library bookplate to front pastedown. Moderate toning, light foxing to Act and a few leaves of Speech, side notes of Act affected in a few places by trimming. $500. * Act: second and final edition; Speech: only edition. Stilwell, a member of the New York State Assembly from New York County, proposed the 1831 act to abolish imprisonment for debt, which became known as Stilwell's Act. It was the final step in a series of acts beginning in 1809 that reduced penalties for debtors. The first printing of the text with Stilwell's synopsis was in 1831. Johnson, a senator from Kentucky, later Van Buren's vice president, proposed a well-received but ultimately unsuccessful bill to eliminate debt imprisonment throughout the United States. Speech was published to encourage support for the bill by a Boston's Society for the Relief of the Distressed. The text of the bill is followed by an appendix with information on the kinds of cases that resulted in imprisonment for debt in Boston. Neither of these imprints are listed in Sabin or Cohen; Speech is a scarce title, Act is rare: OCLC locates 2 copies (New York Public Library, University of Pennsylvania Law School).
Book number 78512