“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.

£550

Approximately:
US $672€608

Make an enquiry

Added to your basket:
“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 …

Checkout now

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...

SAY, Léon.

[cover title: ] La Société coopérative est la meilleure des caisses d’épargne.

First edition. Léon Say (1826–1896), grandson of Jean-Baptiste Say, ‘became one of the most prominent statesmen of the French Third Republic. He served as Finance Minister from 1872 to 1879, and again in 1882, overseeing the largest financial operation of the century – payment of war reparations in Germany. His financial policies were directed toward a decrease in public expenditures and the removal of barriers to internal trade. A brilliant speaker and debater, he railed against socialism from the left and protectionism from the right … Upon leaving the Cabinet, Say returned to his seat in parliament, assuming the leadership of the free trade party. He was at one time considered for the presidency of the republic, but was gradually set apart from his constituency by a rising tide of radicalism’ (The New Palgrave).

Read more

LIMITED SUFFRAGE COWLEY, John.

The Candidates Guide: or the Electors Rights decided. Shewing the Resolutions of the Honble the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament concerning the Rights of Elections for Representatives of all such Counties ... as have been controverted, and heard, before that honourable House, at any Time ... To which added, several other useful Particulars mentioned in the following Introduction ...

First edition of a guide to electoral rights ‘from the controverted Election for New-Castle-Under-Line, in April 1624, to that of Weymouth in May 1730’. Based on the Commons journals, Cowley assembles an alphabetical list of who can vote in each borough. In Lichfield, for example, the right is held by ‘the Bailiff, Magistrates Freeholders of 40 s. a Year, and all that hold by Burgage Tenure. And such as are enrolled, and pay Scot and Lot, and also such Freemen only of the Taylors Company, as are enrolled in the new Book of Constitutions (and not the old Book)’.

Read more