Phoenix and Harp

James SWAN

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Item#: 84826 price:$850.00

Phoenix and Harp


SWAN, James. The Phoenix and Harp. (London: James Swan), June 2-23, 1811. Four weekly issues. Small tabloid on wove stock (11 by 16 inches). $850.

Original issues of James Swan’s London newspaper The Phoenix and Harp, containing editorials addressing questions of “the infliction of corporeal punishment [and] the mere caprice of an inexorable creditor ” and “whether the Irish people are freemen or slaves.”

Sir Samuel Romilly was one of the most progressive MPs in the House of Commons. “While the democratic persuasions of most of the group were largely speculative… Sir Samuel Romilly stood up again and again in the House to defend political liberties or social rights” (Edward Thompson). As solicitor-general he advocated reform of the criminal law, especially in the areas of corporal punishment and capital punishment. “By statute law, innumerable offences were punished by death, but, as such wholesale executions would be impossible, the larger number of those convicted and sentenced to death at every assizes were respited, after having heard the sentence of death solemnly passed upon them. This led to many acts of injustice, as the lives of the convicts depended on the caprice of the judges, while at the same time it made the whole system of punishments and of the criminal law ridiculous” (Hugh Chisholm). These four issues of The Phoenix and Harp contain editorials in support of Romilly’s efforts. “We consider the bills brought in by Sir Samuel Romilly, and the bill proposed by Lord Redesdale of so philanthropic a nature, that we hardly conceived it possible for a being to exist in civilized society, who would venture to oppose them.”

Light foxing (mostly to margins), faint dampstains to bottom corners. Very good condition.

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