ADAMS, John (1735-1826)
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
Philadelphia: Budd and Bartram for William Cobbett [vol. 1]; William Young for William Cobbett [vol. 2]; H. Sweitzer for William Cobbett [vol. 3], 1797. Three volumes, octavo. 6, xxxiii, -392; , 451; , 528, pp. Without the frontispiece portrait, possibly not issued in all copies.
Bound to style in quarter calf and marbled boards, spines gilt with red and black leather labels.
Provenance: John Lorimer Graham (signature)
The complete American edition of Adams' influential work on American constitutional thought.
Styled the "third edition" on the title, this is the first complete collected edition of all three volumes published in America. The first volume was first published in London in 1787. The second and third volumes issued in the years which followed, contain descriptions of the Italian republics of the Middle Ages as well as a lengthy analysis of "the Right Constitution of a Commonwealth." This work is one of the most important and widely read of the many writings of the important Revolutionary figure and second president of the United States. At the time Adams wrote this work he was serving as the first United States ambassador in England, an uncomfortable position for a recent rebel, but he was ever ready to argue the American point of view. Here he forcibly states the principles on which he perceived the United States to be founded. The book was popular and went through numerous editions. Its issuance as the Federal Constitutional Convention was assembling added to its popularity and resulted in several American reprintings, and according to the DAB, "its timeliness gave it vogue." Later, Adams' detractors sought to find in it a hidden desire for a monarchy. This copy belonged to John Lorimer Graham, a distinguished New York City attorney, and at times Postmaster of the city, who signed and dated the titlepages of each volume. Graham acquired the volumes when he was a legal student, in 1817.
Evans 31689-31691; Gephart 8687; Howes A60, "aa"; Sabin 235.