The Case of John Donellan, Esquire, Impartially Considered . . . by a Lawyer. London: Printed for J. Dodsley, Pall-Mall, 1781. [Bound with:] Considerations on the Criminal Proceedings of this Country; on the Danger of Convictions on Circumstantial Evidence; on the Case of Mr. Donnellan [sic]; and on the Alarming Consequences of Prejudice in the Administration of Justice. To which are annexed, Cases of Innocent Persons Condemned and Executed on Circumstantial Evidence: With Remarks Thereon . . . by a Barrister of the Inner Temple. London: Printed for S. Hooper, 1781. [Bound with:] The Theory of Presumptive Proof; or, An Inquiry into the Nature of Circumstantial Evidence: Including an Examination of the Evidence on the Trial of Captain Donnellan [sic]. Capital Punishment, John Donellan, defendant, Evidence.

The Case of John Donellan, Esquire, Impartially Considered . . . by a Lawyer. London: Printed for J. Dodsley, Pall-Mall, 1781. [Bound with:] Considerations on the Criminal Proceedings of this Country; on the Danger of Convictions on Circumstantial Evidence; on the Case of Mr. Donnellan [sic]; and on the Alarming Consequences of Prejudice in the Administration of Justice. To which are annexed, Cases of Innocent Persons Condemned and Executed on Circumstantial Evidence: With Remarks Thereon . . . by a Barrister of the Inner Temple. London: Printed for S. Hooper, 1781. [Bound with:] The Theory of Presumptive Proof; or, An Inquiry into the Nature of Circumstantial Evidence: Including an Examination of the Evidence on the Trial of Captain Donnellan [sic].

London: Printed for W. Clark and Sons, Law Booksellers, 1815. First edition of each title. 3 vols in 1, 8vo, bound into ca. 1908 coarse library linen with leather spine labels and a paper shelfmark label, viii, 60; viii, 251, [2]; 107, [1] pages. Half-title rather clumsily bound into the first volume; a bit cracked along the gutter at the conclusion of the final pamphlet; cloth a bit sunned, some light rubbing and wear and soiling; in very good condition. Item #19530

“In Mr. Donnellan’s Case, it surely will excite wonder, that he, from such circumstances, was found Guilty. It was, certainly, the first, and it is to be hoped it will be the last Case, in which a person was convicted of having administered a poison, which poison was never proved to have existed. In most of these Cases, a person had been murdered.——Sir Theodosius Boughton was never proved to have been murdered; and he never would have been suspected to have died any other than a natural death, or died from a mistake of the Apothecary, had not Mr. Donnellan been married to his Sister.” Three tracts on the nature of circumstantial evidence in capital crimes (and by extension treating the consequence of executions of innocent individuals), all taking as a starting point the case of John Donellan, executed in 1781 for the supposed murder of his poxed and costive young brother-in-law, Sir Theodosius Broughton, who died after ingesting an apothecary’s draught (a not-unheard of consequence of Georgian medicine) and whose estate on his death was to revert to Donellan’s wife rather than to the deceased’s mother—who herself seems to have provided much of the evidence that saw Donellan hanged. These also include accounts of a number of other cases of executions based on circumstantial evidence, the whole reading as something of a jurisprudential Newgate Calendar. The second title here is annotated in early pencil, with the section on the 1642 case of Thomas Harris (which was much reprinted from this text in the 19th century) here marked up with revisions for an unknown republication. An ex-library set, with violet ink stamps and embossed stamps of the Association of the Bar Library of the City of New York, with ink autograph shelfmark numbers to the verso of the first title page. Bound with the half-titles where called for.

Price: $950.00