Our 2011 “Presidents'
President of the U.S. on
& Nature of World Governments
John. A defence of the
constitutions of government of the United States of America, against the attack
of M. Turgot in his letter to Dr. Price, dated the twenty-second day of March,
1778. London: John Stockdale, 1794. 8vo (22.5 cm, 8.8"). 3 vols. I: Frontis.,
, 8, xxxii, –392 pp. II: , 451,  pp. III: , 528, [36 (index)]
Click the images for enlargements.
Uncut copy of the second edition, following the first of 1787, with the half-titles reading “History of the principal republics in the world.” Sabin notes that despite the main title this is actually “a warm defence of the Constitution of Great Britain”; he also calls it “the best anti-democratic treatise that we have seen” and an important source for European awareness of American events.
In contrast, Abigail Adams described the work as “an investigation into
the different forms of government, both ancient and modern . . . with the purpose
of demonstrating the superiority of mixed forms over simple ones.” The
first volume appeared just as the newly written U.S. Constitution was adopted
and seemed to provide a theoretical justification for it.
For PRE-1820 AMERICANA,
The steel-engraved portrait of Adams was done by Hall after Copley.
retaining their very delicate original paper shelf-back bindings in uncut
condition are very uncommon.
ESTC T83247; Allibone 36; Goldsmiths'-Kress 15903; Howes A60;
Sabin 235. Publisher's quarter tan paper with light blue paper–covered
sides, spines with hand-inked titles and volume numbers; worn and rubbed,
front covers detached (back covers largely holding), spine paper mostly lost
(revealing binding structure), black cloth tape extending across each spine
head. Ex–social club library: 19th-century bookplates, inked call number
on endpapers, title-pages pressure-stamped, no other markings. Vol. I with
front free endpaper lacking; one leaf torn from outer margin, extending into
text without loss. Scattered spots and small stains, a few pages with light
to moderate waterstaining in outer or lower portions, frontispiece more notably
stained. Pages uncut. Priced according to faults, of course, this is
a worthy Americanum and legal landmark. (26984)
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Philadelphia Rare Books
& Manuscripts Company,