“Swear not at all:” containing an Exposure of the Needlessness and Mischievousness, as well as Antichristianity, of the Ceremony of an Oath: A View of the Parliamentary Recognition of its Needlessness, implied in the Practice of both Houses: And an Indication of the unexceptionable Securities, by which whatsoever practical good Purposes the Ceremony has been employed to serve would be no more effectually provided for. Together with Proof of the open and persevering Contempt of moral and religious Principle, perpetuated by it, and rendered universal, in the two Church-of-England Universities; more especially in the University of Oxford …

London, R. Hunter, 1817.

8vo, pp. [iv], 97, [1] errata, [1] publisher’s advertisements, [1] blank; some light browning and foxing, but still a good copy, uncut in recent half calf.

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“Swear not at all:” containing an Exposure of the Needlessness and Mischievousness, as well as Antichristianity, of the Ceremony of an Oath: A View of the Parliamentary Recognition of its Needlessness, implied in the Practice of both Houses: And an Indication of the unexceptionable Securities, by which whatsoever practical good Purposes the Ceremony has been employed to serve would be no more effectually provided for. Together with Proof of the open and persevering Contempt of moral and religious Principle, perpetuated by it, and rendered universal, in the two Church-of-England Universities; more especially in the University of Oxford …

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First published edition, originally printed in 1813 and ‘written to expose the mischief arising from the laws relating to the administration of oaths’ (Atkinson, Jeremy Bentham: his life and work, p. 173). ‘In some cases, so he declared, the Promissory Oath prevented a man from doing what he knew to be right; in others, it afforded him a ready excuse for the commission of some wrong. George III laid on his Coronation Oath the responsibility of the American War and of his resistance to the claims of the Catholics. He had sworn to maintain his dominions entire; he had sworn to preserve the Church of England. At Oxford, barbers, cooks, bedmakers, errand boys, and other unlettered retainers to the University were habitually sworn in English to the observance of a medley of statutes penned in Latin – the oath thus solemnly taken but never kept. On matriculating, he had himself been excused from taking the oaths by reason of his tender years; and this, said Bowring, relieved him from a state of very painful doubt, for even then he felt strong objections against needless swearing …

‘Bentham did not, however, regard Assertory or Judicial Oaths as open to the same serious objections; but, while recognising the necessity of some formal sanction, he did not approve of the ceremony being made a sacred invocation, for that was apt to obscure the real mischief of judicial falsehood – the mischief occasioned by the lie. If criminality be centred in the profanation of the ceremony, who is to say whether the sanction for truth be in operation or not? Who can say what are the religious opinions hidden in the breast of the witness? First went ordeal, he writes; then went duel; after that went, under the name of wager of law, the ceremony of an oath in its pure state; by-and-by this last of the train of supernatural powers, ultima cœlicolûm, will be gathered with Astræa into its native skies’ (op. cit., p. 174f).

Chuo S6-2; Everett, p. 533f.

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[SCOTLAND.]

Seventeen pamphlets relating mostly to legal cases in Scotland.

An interesting sammelband relating largely to Scottish legal cases, containing 12 items unrecorded on ESTC, COPAC and OCLC. The cases include those of a Kilbagie distiller convicted of bribery; of Sir William Erskine of Torrie against a London banking house; of a St Andrews minister convicted of perjury; of a forged bill presented at the counting house of Sir William Forbes; and of an Aberdeen-based troupe of musicians.

Contents:

1. [BREBNER, John.] Information for John Brebner late merchant of Halifax, now residing in Aberdeen, defender and pursuer, against William Sibbald merchant in Leith, pursuer and defender. Lord Hailes Reporter. [Edinburgh], 12 July 1785.
pp. 33, [1], 16; side notes slightly trimmed, short closed tear to last leaf (without loss), last page dusty. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC. The defendant claiming to have been duped in business conducted in North America and the West Indies.

2. [STEIN, James.] George, &c. Forasmuchas it is humbly meaned and complained unto us, by our right trusty Ilay Campbell, Esq; our advocate for our interest, upon James Stein distiller at Kilbagie ... that whereas, by the laws of this realm, bribery and corruption, especially when practiced by a distiller ... [Edinburgh, 1785].
pp. 8. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC. Stein found guilty of attempted bribery.

3. [STEIN, James.] Information for Ilay Campbell, Esq; his majesty’s advocate of Scotland against James Stein distiller at Kilbagie. [Edinburgh], 23 September 1786.

pp. 16. Not on ESTC; 1 copy on OCLC (BL).

4. [STEIN, James.] Clauses in the statutes referred to in the information for James Stein, under the different heads bribery, forgery, and perjury. [Edinburgh, 1786].

pp. 15, [1 blank]. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC.

5. [STEIN, James.] Information for James Stein, distiller at Kilbeggie; against Ilay Campbell, Esq; his majesty’s advocate of Scotland. [Edinburgh], 31 October 1786.

pp. [2], 33, [1 blank]; small stain to title, small loss to blank margin of F1. Not on ESTC; 1 copy on OCLC (BL).

6. [ERSKINE, William.] Information for Robert, Henry, George, and Andrew-Berkley Drummond, bankers in London, defenders; against Sir William Erskine, and others, creditors of Hugh and Archibald Seton, pursuers. To be reported to Lord Swinton. [Edinburgh], 20 April 1787.

pp. 29, [1 blank]; small closed marginal tear to D1. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC.

7. [ERSKINE, William.] Information for Sir William Erskine of Torry, and for the other creditors of Hugh Seton of Touch, Esq; and of Archibald Seton, Esq; his eldest son, pursuers; against Hugh Powel ... and Robert, Henry, George and Andrew-Berkley Drummond ... London, bankers, defenders. To be reported by Lord Swinton. [Edinburgh], 20 April 1787.

pp. 39, [1 blank]. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC.

8. [ERSKINE, William.] Report and exhibits in the process Sir William Erskine, &c. against Robert, Henry, &c. Drummonds, Esqrs. [Edinburgh, 1787].

pp. [2], 75, [1 blank]; last page dusty. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC.

9. [LESLIE, William.] Criminal letters, against the reverend Mr William Leslie. [Edinburgh, 1787].
pp. 8; first page dusty. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC. Leslie was found guilty of perjury.

10. [LESLIE, William.] Information for the rev. Mr William Leslie, minister of the parish of St Andrews and Longbride, pannel; against Alexander Penrose-Cumming of Altyre, Esq; with concourse of his majesty’s advocate, prosecutor. [Edinburgh], 15 January 1787.
pp. 28; light spotting. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC.

11. [GRAHAM, Mary.] June 12, 1772. Unto the right honourable the Lords of Council and Session, the petition of Mary Graham, relict of John Grinlay, and John Graham of Redfoord, her nephew. [Edinburgh], 12 June 1772.

pp. 8; imperfect, wanting part of leaf B2 and text thereafter; dusty. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC.

12. [FORBES, William.] Unto the right honourable, the Lords of Council and Session, the petition of Sir William Forbes, James Hunter, and Company, bankers in Edinburgh. [Edinburgh], 29 February 1788.

pp. 21, [1 blank]. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC.

13. [BRIERLY, Joseph.] Memorial for Joseph Brierly and George-Stevens Sutherland, musicians, suspenders; against George Forbes, procurator-fiscal of the borough of Aberdeen, charger. Bill of suspension. Lord Henderland reporter. [Edinburgh], 8 March 1787.

pp. 12, 6. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC.

14. [FRASER, Alexander.] Articles and conditions relative to the tacks of Alexander Fraser, Esq; of Strichen. [Aberdeen?, 1781?].

pp. 14. ESTC, COPAC and OCLC show 1 copy only, at Aberdeen University.

15. [DOCKYARDS.] Copy of a letter from the right honourable Lord Sydney ... to his grace the Duke of Richmond ... appointing his grace president of the board of land and sea officers for investigating ... his majesty’s dock yards at Portsmouth and Plymouth ... [London], 1786.

pp. 19, [1 blank]; pages folded to fit in volume. ESTC T128818 (5 copies).

16. [DOCKYARDS.] Copy of an estimate of the expense of fortifying his majesty’s dock yards at Portsmouth and Plymouth, by the committee of engineers at the Tower ... [London], 1786.

pp. 6, [2]; pages folded to fit in volume. Not on ESTC, COPAC or OCLC.

17. Case of the dean and faculty of advocates, clerks to his majesty’s signet, and other members of the College of Justice, in Scotland. [Edinburgh], 1786.

pp. 4. Not on ESTC; OCLC shows 1 copy at the University of California.

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[REFORM ACT.]

Stanzas congratulatory, addressed to the Borough of Gateshead on the eve of her Reform Festival.

A verse lampoon written after the creation of the new Parliamentary borough of Gateshead by the Reform Act of 1832, and on its new MP Cuthbert Rippon and the local reformer William Henry Brockett.

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