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  • (TRANSPORTATION ACT). ~ An Act for the effectual Transportation of Felons and other Offenders; and to authorize the Removal of Prisoners in certain Cases; and for other Purposes therein mentioned. London: printed by Charles Eyre and William Strahan, 1784.
    First edition. To relieve prison overcrowding, Lord Sydney favoured finding an alternative place of transportation, rather than the penitentiaries advocated by the prominent social reformer,… (more)

    First edition. To relieve prison overcrowding, Lord Sydney favoured finding an alternative place of transportation, rather than the penitentiaries advocated by the prominent social reformer, Jeremy Bentham. In 1784, he sponsored the Transportation Act. Though New South Wales is not mentioned as a destination, it was favoured by Sydney after consulting the testimonies of both Joseph Banks and the mariner Joseph Matra. Initially ruled out on the grounds of its extreme remoteness, in 1786 the British cabinet came to accept Sydney’s recommendation that convicts be transported there. The Act has come to be regarded as the primary document for the British settlement of Australia.

    Though separately published with a general title for a complete sitting of Parliament, individual Acts of Parliament were paginated to be bound together in yearly volumes hence the pagination 907-919 here. ESTC N58442 (Lincoln’s Inn and State Library of New South Wales only though copies are under-recorded since they are often catalogued within volumes and sets of the Acts of Parliament.); Ferguson, Bibliography of Australia 3.

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  • Theodore Sedwick. by [SAINT-MÉMIN, Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de. [SAINT-MÉMIN, Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de. ~ Theodore Sedwick. 1801.
    A RARE ‘PHYSIONOTRACE’ PORTRAIT OF THEODORE SEDGWICK (1746–1813), the American attorney, politician, and jurist who served in elected state government and as a delegate to… (more)

    A RARE ‘PHYSIONOTRACE’ PORTRAIT OF THEODORE SEDGWICK (1746–1813), the American attorney, politician, and jurist who served in elected state government and as a delegate to the Continental Congress, a U.S. representative, and a senator from Massachusetts. He served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate from June to December 1798. He also served as the fourth speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He was appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1802 and served there for the rest of his life. He died at Boston and he is buried at Stockbridge. A portrait by Gilbert Stuart of c. 1808 is at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

    Sedgwick studied theology and law at Yale College and though he did not graduate, he continued in his study under attorney Mark Hopkins of Great Barrington. He played a significant role in the abolitionist movement. As a relatively young lawyer, Sedgwick and Tapping Reeve had pleaded the case of Brom and Bett vs. Ashley (1781), an early ‘freedom suit’, in county court for the slaves Elizabeth Freeman (known as Bett) and Brom. Bett (also known as MumBet)was a black slave who had fled from her master, Colonel John Ashley of Sheffield, Massachusetts, because of cruel treatment by his wife. Brom joined her in suing for freedom from the Ashleys. The attorneys challenged their enslavement under the new state constitution of 1780, which held that ‘all men are born free and equal.’ The jury agreed and ruled that Bett and Brom were free. The decision was upheld on appeal by the state Supreme Court. She was the first enslaved African American to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. She marked her freedom by taking the name of Elizabeth Freeman, and chose to work for wages at the Sedgwick household, where she helped rear their several children. She worked there for much of the rest of her life, buying a separate house for her and her daughter after the Sedgwick children were grown. On her death the Sedgwicks buried her at Stockbridge Cemetery in the family plot.

    Before the advent of photography the physionotrace was ‘the first system invented to produce multiple copies of a portrait, invented in 1786 by Gilles-Louis Chrétien (1774–1811). In his apparatus a profile cast by a lamp onto a glass plate was traced by an operator using a pointer connected, by a system of levers like a pantograph, to an engraving tool moving over a copper plate. The aquatint and roulette finished engraved intaglio plate, usually circular and small (50 mm), with details of features and costume, could be inked and printed many times’ (Photoconservation.com, sub Printing Processes). The process was introduced to America by Charles Saint-Mémin.

    The miniaturist Saint-Mémin (1770-1852) had emigrated from France in 1793 to Switzerland, where he practised as an engraver. Crossing the Atlantic to Canada and then the United States, he established a portrait business in New York with his compatriot Thomas Bluget de Valdenuit (who initially produced the drawings for Saint-Mémin to engrave). When Valdenuit returned to Paris, Saint-Mémin adopted an itinerant practice all over the East Coast states, working variously at Philadelphia, Richmond, Charleston and Burlington. He too returned to France in 1814, having destroyed his drawing apparatus in a symbolic end to a prolific artistic enterprise which produced more than a thousand different portraits of significant figures in American society, including Washington, Revere and Jefferson.

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  • Razsuzhdenīe o prestuplenīi︠a︡kh i nakazanīi︠a︡kh... [Dei Delittie e delle Pene / On Crimes and Punishments in Russian]. by BECCARIA, Cesare, marchese di. Dmitri YAZYKOV, translator. BECCARIA, Cesare, marchese di. Dmitri YAZYKOV, translator. ~ Razsuzhdenīe o prestuplenīi︠a︡kh i nakazanīi︠a︡kh... [Dei Delittie e delle Pene / On Crimes and Punishments in Russian]. St. Petersburg: Gubernskom Pravlenīi, 1803.
    First edition in Russian of Beccaria’s Dei Delittie e delle Pene (1764) translated from the French version of Morellot. In his fundamental Enlightenment legal treatise… (more)

    First edition in Russian of Beccaria’s Dei Delittie e delle Pene (1764) translated from the French version of Morellot. In his fundamental Enlightenment legal treatise Beccaria opposed the death penalty and ‘maintained that the gravity of the crime should be measured by its injury to society and that the penalty should be related to this’ (Printing and the Mind of Man). It was enthusiastically read (in French) by Catherine the Great while codifying her own celebrated legal manifesto, Nakaz, in which almost a third of the text came directly from Beccaria, alongside major borrowings from Montesquieu’s L’Ésprit des lois. Given Catherine’s intellectual omnipotence it is perhaps unsurprising that no Russian edition of Dei Delittie e delle Pene itself appeared during her reign, even though its spirit imbued her widely disseminated Nakaz — required reading for anyone involved in Russian law and government. Thus Beccaria’s principles came to serve as ideals for future legislators in Russia and were fully incorporated into Russian criminal law by the end of the nineteenth century. The title of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (Prestupléniye i nakazániye, 1866) is only the most prominent emblem of Beccaria’s influence in Russia.

    ‘The first [Russian] translation of Beccaria came out in 1803. It was done by the poet D. Yazykov from the French translation by Morellet, edited by Roederer in 1797... the translation is one of the best in Russian. It manages to convey not only the ideas of the treatise but also the spirit, the language of Beccaria and his contemporaries. It is dedicated to Alexander I...’ (Cizova).

    Dmitry Ivanovich Yazykov (1773-1845), writer, translator, academician and director of the Ministry of Public Education later published a translation of Montesquieu’s Esprit des Lois in 1809–14. Cf. Printing and the Mind of Man 209. Rare: Worldcat lists only the NYPL and Yale copies in anglophone countries. T. Cizova, ‘Beccaria in Russia.’ Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 40, No. 95 (Jun. 1962), pp. 384-408.

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  • An Act for the Encouragement of John Harrison, to publish and make known his Invention of a Machine or Watch, for the Discovery of the Longitude at Sea. by (LONGITUDE. JOHN HARRISON). (LONGITUDE. JOHN HARRISON). ~ An Act for the Encouragement of John Harrison, to publish and make known his Invention of a Machine or Watch, for the Discovery of the Longitude at Sea. London: Mark Baskett, Printer to the King’s most Excellent Majesty; and by the Assigns of Robert Baskett, 1763.
    First edition of this important act acknowledging the success of John Harrison’s ‘H4’ chronometer in the accurate calculation of longitude, among the most important scientific… (more)

    First edition of this important act acknowledging the success of John Harrison’s ‘H4’ chronometer in the accurate calculation of longitude, among the most important scientific breakthroughs of the eighteenth century. ‘And whereas the Utility of the Invention of the said John Harrison has been proved by a late Voyage to Jamaica, under the Directions of the Commissioners of the Longitude; And whereas the said Commissioners at their Meeting on the Seventeenth Day of August last did adjudge, that by the Trial made of the said Instrument, it was found of considerable Use to the Publick, and did thereupon make an Order for the Payment of the Sum of Two thousand Pounds to the said John Harrison...’

    Harrison believed the extraordinary accuracy of his fourth marine chronometer (it lost just five seconds on an 81-day trial to Jamaica) should be enough to win the full £20,000 promised by the British government’s 1714 longitude prize, but the ‘Act for the Encouragement’ insisted on further tests and disclosures. ‘It was intended to enforce the Commissioners’ directions that Harrison make “a full and clear Discovery of the Principles” of his latest timekeeper to eleven named witnesses so that the details could be published in order to allow other clockmakers to reproduce the designs. Once these witnesses or the majority of them certified that Harrison had done so, then the Treasurer of the Navy was to pay the clockmaker £5000...’ (Baker). The 1763 Act for the Encouragement is the first official government acknowledgement that the revolutionary H4 chronometer had succeeded, but it took Harrison most of the rest of his life to extract the prize money from the Board of Longitude, despite his publication of An Account of the Proceedings in order to the Discovery of Longitude in 1763 (see Printing and the Mind of Man, 208).

    Several copies of this act have appeared at auction in recent years (notably the Streeter Library copy sold by Christie’s in New York for $14,400 in 2007) almost always physically disbound from complete sessional volumes of the Acts of Parliament. Though separately published with a general title (as here) individual acts were almost always bound together in yearly volumes as their pagination dictated — our copy is preserved in such a yearly volume with 24 other acts. Acts of this era were printed in limited numbers, usually estimated at around 1100 copies only. Baker, ‘Longitude Acts’ in Longitude Essays, Cambridge Digital Library, accessed June 2021. ESTC records just 8 copies of the act (3 in the UK, 5 in the US) and Worldcat adds a small handful more, though copies are under-recorded since they are often (especially in the UK) catalogued within volumes and sets of the Acts of Parliament.

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  • Catalogus gloriae mundi... In quo multa praeclara de praerogatiuis, praeeminentijs, maioritate, praestantijs, & excellentijs, continentur... Opus ad omnes publicas et quotidianas actiones dirigendas, controuersiasq́ue grauissimas dissoluendas, perquàm vtilissimum : in XII. libros diuisum. Nunc denuo accuratissime emendatum, ac nouis figuris elegantissime illustratum: ita vt facilè omnes caeteras editiones antecellere possit. by CHASSENEUZ, Barthélemy de. CHASSENEUZ, Barthélemy de. ~ Catalogus gloriae mundi... In quo multa praeclara de praerogatiuis, praeeminentijs, maioritate, praestantijs, & excellentijs, continentur... Opus ad omnes publicas et quotidianas actiones dirigendas, controuersiasq́ue grauissimas dissoluendas, perquàm vtilissimum : in XII. libros diuisum. Nunc denuo accuratissime emendatum, ac nouis figuris elegantissime illustratum: ita vt facilè omnes caeteras editiones antecellere possit. Frankfurt: Sigmund Feyerabend, 1579.
    A spectacular renaissance illustrated book, the first edition with the detailed and dramatic double-page etched plates by Jost Amman. First published at Lyon in 1529… (more)

    A spectacular renaissance illustrated book, the first edition with the detailed and dramatic double-page etched plates by Jost Amman. First published at Lyon in 1529 with single-page woodcuts (reprinted with the same woodcuts in 1546) there were also Venice editions of 1569, 1571 and 1576 with quarter-page woodcuts.

    A vast encyclopaedic work, the Catalogus gloriae mundi sought to set out the hierarchy of creation —animate and inanimate, from the heavens themselves to the governments, laws and sciences of humanity. Its particular value was in setting out orders of precedency and protocol in law and ceremony, which probably accounts for its interest to publisher Sigmund Feyerabend, who enlisted Amman to create large emblematic plates for this edition, derived from the earlier woodcut illustrations. They are:

    1. A genealogy with insignia of royal houses (including European houses and those of Persia, Egypt, Israel etc); 2. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; 3. a mandala depicting the ranks of the hierarchy of the heavens; 4. a sitting of the papal court; 5. an imperial council; 6. a regal council; 7. a judicial court; 8. the nobility; 9. the military ranks; 10. The liberal arts and sciences (14 female personifications); 11. the mechanical arts (7 female personifications); 12. a geocentric cosmography. Andresen, A. Jost Amman, 32-43; The New Hollstein: German Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts 1400-1700, 1998, VI.144. A very scarce book. Worldcat lists non-European copies at Folger, Getty and Huntington libraries only.

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  • Stereoskopischer gerichtsärztlicher Atlas. by LESSER, Adolf. LESSER, Adolf. ~ Stereoskopischer gerichtsärztlicher Atlas. Breslau: Schlesische Verlags-Anstalt v. S. Schottlaender, 1903-5.
    First edition of a pioneering work in the field of forensic medicine, the graphic images depict numerous conditions resulting from homicidal and suicidal injuries. The… (more)

    First edition of a pioneering work in the field of forensic medicine, the graphic images depict numerous conditions resulting from homicidal and suicidal injuries. The grisly and powerful photographs show skull and bone fractures, the impact of gunshot wounds, burns, injuries caused by stabbings, the effects of hanging and so on. Each set of 50 plates is accompanied by a booklet providing details of each image and the important features from the legal-medico cases from which the photographs have been obtained. Heidtmann, Bibliographie der Photographie: Deutschsprachige Publikationen, 14062. OCLC locates 4 US copies and no UK copies.

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  • Baronia Anglica. An History of Land-honors and Baronies, and of Tenure in capite. Verified by Records. by MADOX, Thomas. MADOX, Thomas. ~ Baronia Anglica. An History of Land-honors and Baronies, and of Tenure in capite. Verified by Records. London: for Francis Gosling, 1741.
    An eighteenth-century work on feudal barons and the history of land ownership in England. It was written by Madox, a legal antiquity and historian whose… (more)

    An eighteenth-century work on feudal barons and the history of land ownership in England. It was written by Madox, a legal antiquity and historian whose first appearance was in the publication Formulare Anglicanum in 1701. He produced a learned dissertation on ancient charters, which was praised by Bishop William Nicolson as having provided an ‘unspeakable service to our students in law and antiquities.’ (English Historical Library, 1776).

    Baronia Anglica was first printed in 1736 and our issue is ‘a reissue of the sheets of the 1736 edition printed by William Bowyer (T97064), without the index to his ‘History of the Exchequer’ (which occupied the final 54 sheets...) with a cancel title page; Bowyer also printed the new titles; his records show 500 + 50 [large-paper?] + ‘500 more to give away’. The large-paper copies may show variation in placement of press figures, or in their presence or absence; the details are unclear’ (ESTC).

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  • (Petitions). by (SCOTLAND). (SCOTLAND). ~ (Petitions). [Edinburgh, 1757-1768].
    Memorial for His Grace John Duke of Roxburgh and his Curators, Defenders; against John Hay of Lawfield, William Hay of Charterfield and William Sandihills, all… (more)

    Memorial for His Grace John Duke of Roxburgh and his Curators, Defenders; against John Hay of Lawfield, William Hay of Charterfield and William Sandihills, all Heretors of Eastbarns, Pursuers. [Edinburgh: August 2, 1757], pp. 15, [1]. Not in ESTC.

    Unto the Right Honourable the Lords of Council and Session, the Petition of Alexander Earl of Home. [Edinburgh: 31 January, 1764], pp. 28. Not in ESTC.

    Unto the Right Honourable the Lords of Council and Sessions, the Petition of Captain Shaw Grosett, and Miss Lilias Grosett... [Edinburgh: February 3, 1768], pp. 16. Not in ESTC.

    Unto the Right Honourable the Lords of Council and Session, the Petition of Alexander Hamilton of Blantyre-farm, and Miss Lilias Grosett. [Edinburgh: February 17, 1768], pp. 8. Not in ESTC.

    Information for Alexander Drummond Esq; late his Majesty’s Consul at Aleppo in Syrai, now residing in Canongate, in the Competition of the Creditors of Mrs. Marion Drummond. [Edinburgh: January 22, 1768], pp. 8. ESTC: Bodley only.

    Unto the Right Honourable the Lords of Council and Session, the Petition of Janet Rattray, Widow of John Scott, late Tacksman of Rashyhill, and of Andrew, James, Joseph, George, and Hary Scotts, their children. [Edinburgh: February 18, 1768], pp. 13, [1]. Not in ESTC.

    Unto the Right Honourable the Lords of Council and Session, the Petition of Alexander Roberts in Nether-Wardroppertown, and Katharine Straton his Spouse, eldest Daughter of the deceased Robert Straton of Wardroppertown. [February 20, 1768], pp. 12. Not in ESTC.

    Seven eighteenth-century pleadings in Edinburgh courts relating to inheritance, most involving female inheritances. All are very rare.

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  • Catalogue raisonné des ouvrages qui parurent en 1614 et 1615, a l’occasion des États. by (BIBLIOGRAPHY). (BIBLIOGRAPHY). ~ Catalogue raisonné des ouvrages qui parurent en 1614 et 1615, a l’occasion des États. [?Paris], 1789
    Sole edition of this bibliographical catalogue of 210 printed works issued at the time of the Estates General of 1614-15, comprising official documents, memoirs, counsels,… (more)

    Sole edition of this bibliographical catalogue of 210 printed works issued at the time of the Estates General of 1614-15, comprising official documents, memoirs, counsels, petitions, harangues, discussions of the death of Henry IV, arrêts du Parlement, pasquinades and satires. Each entry includes a line or two of commentary. An advisory body representing the three estates in France, the Estates General had met periodically from the middle ages to 1614, which proved to be its last assembly for over 150 years. As France headed towards revolution, the Estates General was summoned as a desperate measure in May 1789 on the model of the 1615 assembly—doubtless the occasion of this rare little bibliography. Conlon, 89, 1275. Though Conlon provides an NUC reference, OCLC lists no US copies. COPAC lists the BL copy only.

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  • Cornish custom
    Laws of the Stannaries of Cornwall, made at the Convocation or Parliament of Tinners, at Truro, Sept. 13, Anno 27o Geo. II. In which the Laws made 22o Jac. I 12o Car. I 4o Jac. II. are recited and confirmed. To which are added the Laws made at Truro, 2o Annae Reg. by (CORNWALL). [CONVOCATION OF TINNERS.] (CORNWALL). [CONVOCATION OF TINNERS.] ~ Laws of the Stannaries of Cornwall, made at the Convocation or Parliament of Tinners, at Truro, Sept. 13, Anno 27o Geo. II. In which the Laws made 22o Jac. I 12o Car. I 4o Jac. II. are recited and confirmed. To which are added the Laws made at Truro, 2o Annae Reg. [Truro:] printed by order of the Convocation, [ 1753].
    First edition of this codification of the laws governing the Cornish tin industry. The Convocation of Tinners exercised ancient rights of jurisdiction over much of… (more)

    First edition of this codification of the laws governing the Cornish tin industry. The Convocation of Tinners exercised ancient rights of jurisdiction over much of Cornwall; customary rights exercised long before the codification of English law and which had been confirmed by royal charters since the time of Edward I. Stannary law was sanctioned by the crown in recognition of the special responsibilities of the Cornish tinners in providing a valuable raw material. It has been claimed that the right to hold Convocations has never been formally repealed by the English crown, a legal anomaly exploited by the Cornish nationalist movement. A previous codification had been printed in 1725. Goldsmiths’ 8776; Higgs 433; Kress 5279.

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  • The present State of the Law. The speech of Henry Brougham, Esq., M.P., in the House of Commons, on Thursday, February 7, 1828, on his Motion, that an humble Address be presented His Majesty, praying that he will graciously be pleased to issue a Commission for inquring into the Defects occasioned by Time and otherwise in the Laws of this Realm, and into the Measures necessary for removing the Same. by BROUGHAM and VAUX, Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron. BROUGHAM and VAUX, Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron. ~ The present State of the Law. The speech of Henry Brougham, Esq., M.P., in the House of Commons, on Thursday, February 7, 1828, on his Motion, that an humble Address be presented His Majesty, praying that he will graciously be pleased to issue a Commission for inquring into the Defects occasioned by Time and otherwise in the Laws of this Realm, and into the Measures necessary for removing the Same. London: Henry Colburn, 1828.
    First edition of Brougham’s famous six-hour speech (still the longest in the history of the House of Commons, though not then described as a ‘filibister’)… (more)

    First edition of Brougham’s famous six-hour speech (still the longest in the history of the House of Commons, though not then described as a ‘filibister’) which set in motion the long-overdue reform of the British legal system. In the course of the speech ‘he exposed flaws in virtually every area of law (omitting only chancery reform and the criminal law) and staked his claim to be parliament’s prime champion of law reform. Brougham’s speech struck the perfect note. He showed himself to be committed to a widescale reform of the legal system, while resisting Bentham’s iconoclasm. In preparing the speech he had in fact received much guidance (and many manuscripts) from Bentham, who still considered Brougham as the man best placed... to advance his projects for codification and the abolition of the common law’ (Oxford DNB).

    Though the recipient’s name has been erased, this copy has a presentation inscription by Elizabeth Vassall Fox, Lady Holland, literary and political hostess. It provides an interesting sidelight on her political sympathies.

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