8vo, pp. [iv], 97,  errata,  publisher’s advertisements,  blank; some light browning and foxing, but still a good copy, uncut in recent half calf.
US $721 €615
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.
You may also be interested in...
Rerum Belgicarum libri quatuor. In quibus Ferdinandi Albani sexennium, belli Belgici principium. Additur quintus, seorsim anteà excusus, in quo induciarum historia; & eiusdem belli finis.
First edition. The first four books narrate the repressive governorship of the duke of Alva (1567–73), who was sent to the Netherlands to secure Spanish rule after the collapse of the rebellion of 1566–67. An earlier version of the fifth book, which ends with the truce agreed in 1609 between Spain and the United Provinces, had appeared as Rerum Belgicarum liber unus in 1612, but was withdrawn in the face of vehement criticism. The author, a classical scholar and close friend of Grotius, was appointed historiographer to the States General in 1611 and was tutor to Oldenbarnevelt’s sons.
Manual of the mercantile law of Great Britain and Ireland: comprising[:] international commerce. Restraints on trade: patents. Copyright. Joint-stock and banking companies. The law of partnerships. Bills of exchange. With remarks on partnership with limited liability.
First edition. ‘The present volume contains the laws which affect international commerce, individuals who exercise the mercantile profession, partnerships and companies formed for commercial or banking operations, and the most useful of all mercantile instruments, bills of exchange and promissory notes’ (preface).