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“MANY… COULD NOT HAVE EXPECTED SO MUCH POLITICAL KNOWLEDGE AND SAGACITY HAD EXISTED IN OUR WILDERNESS… OUR CONSTITUTIONS IN GENERAL ARE MUCH ADMIRED” (FRANKLIN)

(FRANKLIN, Benjamin) (CONSTITUTION). Constitutions des Treize Etats-Unis. A Philadelphie [i.e. Paris]; Et se trouve a Paris, 1783.

Rare first French edition, one of only 600 copies (including 100 large paper), of the Constitutions of the Several Independent States (1781), proposed by Franklin while America's ambassador to the French Court and amidst his negotiations for peace with Great Britain. This exceptional edition, octavo issue, contains "over 50 footnotes by [Franklin], and shows on title the United States seal… its first appearance in a book" (Howes C716). $8500.

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"THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO CREATE A WRITTEN CONSTITUTION"

LOCKE, John. Collection of Several Pieces. London, 1720.

First edition of this important posthumous collection, with the historic "first attempt to create a written constitution" (Streeter II) in Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, "here first 'printed from Mr. Locke's copy, wherein are several amendments made with his own hand'" (Pforzheimer 596). Also containing the first publication of four key essays, including Locke's Elements of Natural Philosophy, with full-page engraving of the Solar System, in contemporary paneled calf. $4200.

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“SO NEAR TO PERFECTION… I THINK IT WILL ASTONISH OUR ENEMIES”

(AMERICAN CONSTITUTION). Plan of the New Constitution for the United States of America. London, 1792.

1792 British printing of Plan of the New Constitution for the United States, affirming the “rise of a new Empire in the World,” handsomely housed in a custom half morocco folding case. $4200.

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VERY SCARCE EARLY ENGLISH PRINTING OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION

(CONSTITUTION) URBAN, Sylvanus. Gentleman's Magazine. Volume LVII, Number 5 and Number 6. London, 1787. Two volumes.

First edition of two 1787 issues of England’s influential Gentleman’s Magazine for November and December, featuring one of the earliest English printings of the American Constitution, also containing a rich array of articles on science, government, religion, economics and art, along with four copper-engraved plates (one folding). $3500.

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“THE MAGNA CARTA OF THE UNITED AMERICAN STATES”

(CONSTITUTION). Constitutions of the Several Independent States. London, 1783.

1783 greatly expanded English edition, variant second state, of the Constitutions of the 13 newly independent American states, published only one year after the first English edition, with early printings of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and important U.S.-French treaties, this substantially expanded edition of particular interest in containing the 1774 Declaration of Rights (forerunner of the Declaration); the 1774 Non-Importation Agreement, the Petition to the King and one of the first printings (certainly the first English) of the U.S.-Dutch treaty of June 7, 1782, America’s first with a nation other than France—none present in the first American or English editions—scarce in contemporary calf, in a custom chemise and slipcase. $2500.

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"THE BEST DEFENSE OF THE POLITICAL BALANCE OF THREE POWERS THAT WAS EVER WRITTEN” (JOHN ADAMS)

DE LOLME, J. L. Constitution of England. London, 1784.

1784 edition in English of De Lolme's important constitutional work, the preferred "corrected and enlarged" edition with his final revisions, a key influence on The Federalist Papers and intensely followed by John Adams in authoring his own Defense of the Constitutions (1787)—his papers containing "closely copied verbatim notes from the 1784 edition" (Appleby)—the power of "the executive for Adams, as for De Lolme and for Lincoln, was the mainstay of the entire mechanism" (Wood), scarce in contemporary calf. $750.

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"THE BEST DEFENSE OF THE POLITICAL BALANCE OF THREE POWERS THAT WAS EVER WRITTEN” (JOHN ADAMS)

DE LOLME, J. L. Constitution of England. London, 1784.

1784 edition in English of De Lolme's important constitutional work, the preferred "corrected and enlarged" edition with his final revisions, a key influence on The Federalist Papers and intensely followed by John Adams in authoring his own Defense of the Constitutions (1787)—his papers containing "closely copied verbatim notes from the 1784 edition" (Appleby)—the power of "the executive for Adams, as for De Lolme and for Lincoln, was the mainstay of the entire mechanism" (Wood), scarce in contemporary calf. $750.

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