TWO BY JEREMY BENTHAM
Bentham, Jeremy. Scotch reform; considered, with reference to the plan, proposed in the late Parliament, for the regulation of the courts, and the administration of justice, in Scotland: With illustrations from English non-reform.... London: J. Ridgway (pr. by Richard Taylor & Co.), 1808. 8vo , 100 pp.; 2 oversized folding tables.
Click the images for enlargements.
First edition: Bentham’s influential study, prompted by the
proposal of a bill for amending the constitution of the Scottish Court of Session.
The DNB (IV, 274) praises the piece for “setting out for the first
time clearly the advantages of what he [Bentham] termed the natural system of
justice as against the artificial ‘fee-getting system.’” The
published version of the work grew out of a series of letters addressed to Lord
Grenville, and addresses aspects of judicial procedure including the giving
of evidence and the complications posed by jury trials; the work includes two
oversized, folding tables charting details of potential trial delays and complications.
NSTC B1664; Goldsmiths'-Kress 19755. Recent dark blue morocco
framed in double gilt fillets, spine with gilt-ruled raised bands and gilt-stamped
floral decorative motifs. Title-page with a few small spots, others clean.
Tables tipped in at the back of the volume. Neat and nice.
First American Edition
Bentham, Jeremy. Defence of usury;
shewing the impolicy of the present legal restaints [sic] on the terms of pecuniary
bargains. To which is added, a letter to Adam Smith, Esq. L.L.D. on the discouragement
of inventive industry. Philadelphia: Pr. for Mathew Carey by Lang & Ustick,
1796. 12mo (14.5 cm, 5.75"). 149,  pp.
First American edition of this classic argument that market forces should
be the sole determinant of the cost of money. Bentham examines the legal and
moral issues of usury, and concludes that the arguments generally put forth
for legislating maximum interest rates are unsound on both practical and logical
grounds. The work was originally composed in the form of letters to Bentham's
friend Mr. Wilson; the Dictionary of National Biography calls Bentham's
writing style "terse, clear, and even brilliant," noting as well that he was
responsible for introducing the words "international," "codify," and "minimise"
into the English language.
more 18TH-CENTURY BOOKS, click here.
ESTC W4815; Evans 30057. On Bentham, see: DNB, IV, 26880.
Mottled sheep, recently neatly rebacked over brown calf, spine with dotted
gilt double rules and the original gilt-stamped title label. All edges speckled
blue. Front pastedown stamped by a now-defunct institution; title-page and
four others pressure-stamped by same institution. First few leaves very faintly
foxed; others pleasingly clean save for occasional overenthusiastic edge speckling.
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