(London: John Murray, 1840). 223 x 135 mm. (8 3/4 x 5 1/4"). Three volumes.
VERY FINE CONTEMPORARY CALF, covers with small gilt floral stamps in corners connected with double gilt rules, spine with raised bands, spine panels gilt with central flower surrounded by floral tools and leafy cornerpieces, brown morocco labels, edges and endpapers marbled. Frontispiece portrait of Samuel Romilly engraved by E. Finden from an oil portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and four pages of facsimiles of handwriting. Front pastedown with bookplate of Edward Nicholas Hurt. Offsetting to frontispiece, trivial scratches, but in all other ways AN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE COPY.
This is a remarkably well-preserved copy in a handsome contemporary binding of a biography of Sir Samuel Romilly (1757-1818), a lawyer (advancing to the position of Solicitor General), politician, and staunch advocate for capital punishment reform and the abolition of slavery. His political reforms focused on the elimination of cruel and harsh antiquated punishments, including drawing and quartering and the corruption of blood (which, because of the commission of a serious crime, involved loss of the right to pass on property and hereditary titles). And, in the words of DNB, "of particular interest to Romilly was the successful legislative campaign to abolish the slave trade, to which he gave his vocal support." Despairing over the recent death of his wife, in a fit of delirium Romilly died by suicide, after which his memoirs were edited and published posthumously by his sons. Romilly's life was considered of sufficient importance to be issued by the major London publisher John Murray. The present copy comes from the library of a grand English country home, where, given its current condition, it sat looking beautiful on the shelf, but was seldom, if ever, actually read. (ST14728f)
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PJP Catalog: 76.063