[BENTHAM, Jeremy]. The Book of Fallacies: from unfinished papers of Jeremy Bentham. By a friend. London: John and H.L. Hunt., 1824.
8vo, rebound in quarter calf over marbled boards; spine with double blind rule in five compartments; with contrasting leather label; red speckled edges; pp. xi, [i], 411; some light scratches to spine, with the odd spot, otherwise a fine copy. Provenance: with the pencilled ownership inscription of Dolf Mootham to the front flyleaf. Mootham was a Burma-born banker who later went on to became finance director of Trustee Savings Bank.
Bentham's obsessive revision of his writing meant that, like so many of his works, this book was not finished by the man himself but was brought into print first by his French publisher in a different form and then at last in English by Hunt. Edited from his original papers by Peregrine Bingham (1788-1864), it remains an original and entertaining work which is relevant to modern politics in its criticism of around fifty fallacious arguments used by politicians to thwart reforms. Bentham's hope was that by drawing attention to these arguments he would be able to prevent their use in the future, although a quick perusal shows that sadly little changes in the world of politics.