Manasseh Dawes (died 1829) was an English barrister and miscellaneous writer.
Dawes took the Whig side on the American War of Independence, and the law of libel; but defended William Blackstone against Jeremy Bentham, had doubts as to abolishing tests, and held that philosophical truth was beyond reach. His major works were:
- 'Letter to Lord Chatham on American Affairs,' 1777 (in the title-page he describes himself as author of 'several anonymous pieces ').
- 'Essay on Intellectual Liberty,' 1780; it criticised Jeremy Bentham's 'Fragment'.
- 'Philosophical Considerations', on the controversy between Joseph Priestley and Richard Price, 1780.
- 'Nature and Extent of Supreme Power', on John Locke's 'Social Compact', 1783.
- 'England's Alarm, or the prevailing Doctrine of Libels,' 1785.
- 'Deformity of the Doctrine of Libels,' 1785; this and the previous work refer to the Case of the Dean of St Asaph.
- 'Introduction to a Knowledge of the Law on Real Estates,' 1814.
- 'Epitome of the Law of Landed Property,' 1818.
Dawes also edited (1784) a posthumous poem by John Stuckey on 'The Vanity of all Human Knowledge,' with a dedication to Priestley.
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