The Life and Character of the late Lord Chancellor Jefferys [sic] ...

London: Printed by A. Moore ... 1725.

8vo., pp. [16], 47, [1], with half title; a very good copy, disbound.


US $490€464

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The Life and Character of the late Lord Chancellor Jefferys [sic] ...

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First edition of an uncomplimentary life of the notorious Judge Jeffreys, who presided at the trial of Titus Oates. The author, according to the introduction, was a ‘Practicer at the Bar’ recently deceased, who had lived to a good age and was ‘well acquainted with all the Chancellor’s Proceedings, and an Eye-Witness of most of the Facts he relates’. While other contemporary historians had been describing Jeffreys as a very ill man but a good Chancellor, this pamphlet paints him as ‘a very ill Chancellor also’. Later estimates have not improved the picture: ‘He was a man of considerable social talents and some social gifts, but neither his judicial brutalities nor his political profligacy admit of palliation. Devoid of principle, of drunken and extravagant habits, he was reckless of everything save his own advancement ... As a criminal judge, he was undoubtedly the worst that ever disgraced the bench’ (DNB).

The text has sometimes been attributed to a Mr. Shirley, otherwise unknown, and wrongly by Halkett & Laing to Ann Moore. ‘A. Moore’ of the imprint is an invention, a stock name behind which various booksellers sheltered on occasion (Foxon, II, 172, and Michael Treadwell, ‘On False and Misleading Imprints’, Fakes and Frauds, ed. Robin Myers and Michael Harris, 1989, pp. 41-3).

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