5 volumes, octavo, antique style quarter green morocco, contemporary black and red morocco labels lettered gilt, pp. xxii, 606, (2); xii, 700, (2); xii, 658; xii, 645; xii, 787, with all the half titles, with ‘John S Mill’ printed at the end of the Preface to volume I.
First edition. John Stuart Mill’s first great literary effort.
“About the end of 1824, or beginning of 1825, Mr Bentham, having lately got back his papers on Evidence from M.Dumont (whose Traité des Preuves Judiciaires, grounded on them, was then first completed and published) resolved to have them printed in the original, and bethought himself of me as capable of preparing them for the press…I gladly undertook this task, and it occupied nearly all my leisure for about a year, exclusive of the time afterwards spent in seeing the five large volumes through the press. Mr Bentham had begun this treatise three times, at considerable intervals, each time in a different manner, and each time without reference to the preceding: two of the three times he had gone over nearly the whole subject. These three masses of manuscript it was my business to condense into a single treatise; adopting the one last written as the groundwork, and incorporating with it as much of the two others as it had not completely superseded…It was further Mr Bentham’s particular desire that I should, from myself, endeavour to supply any lacunae which he had left; and at his instance I read, for this purpose, the most authoritative treatises on the English Law of Evidence, and commented on a few of the objectionable points of the English rules, which had escaped Bentham’s notice. I also replied to the objections which had been made to some of his doctrines by reviewers of Dumont’s book, and added a few supplementary remarks on some of the more abstract parts of the subject, such as the theory of improbability and impossibility. The controversial part of these editorial additions was written in a more assuming tone than became one so young and inexperienced as I was: but indeed I had never contemplated coming forward in my own person…My name as editor was put to the book after it was printed, at Mr Bentham’s positive desire, which I in vain attempted him to forego…The ‘Rationale of Judicial Evidence’ is one of the richest in matter of all Bentham’s productions…it comprises the most elaborate exposure of the vices and defects of English law…” Mill, Autobiograpy, pp.114-116.