February 2022 Catalogue

“Produced A Great Effect Upon The Mind Of The American Colonists During The Revolution”: Rare First Edition Of Burgh’s Powerful Political Disquisitions, 1774-75, Edited By Benjamin Franklin 8. BURGH, James. Political Disquisitions. London, 1774-1775. Three volumes. Octavo, period-style speckled brown calf gilt. $18,000. Click for more info Rare first edition of this major revolutionary work, an important influence on America’s Founding Fathers, praised by John Adams as “a book which ought to be in the hands of every American who has learned to read.” Washington, Jefferson, Hancock and other leaders of the Continental Congress read this powerful work, and both The Federalist Papers and Common Sense refer to it. Edited by Burgh’s close friend, Benjamin Franklin. John Adams declared Burgh’s Political Disquisitions “a book which ought to be in the hands of every American who has learned to read” (Wood, 165). A well-known Scottish reformer, Burgh was a close friend of Benjamin Franklin, who excerpted a work by Burgh in his Poor Richard almanacs and notably edited this highly influential work. Political Disquisitions is “perhaps the most important political treatise which appeared in England in the first half of the reign of George III” (Hay, “Benjamin Franklin, James Burgh,” William and Mary Quarterly 32:1:112). Here Burgh powerfully targets issues such as freedom of speech, armies and militias, taxation without representation, and British oppression of the colonies. Issued in Philadelphia shortly after this rare English edition, Political Disquisitions “produced a great effect upon the mind of the American colonists during the Revolution” (Sabin 9246). Owned and read by many of the Founding Fathers, including Washington and Jefferson, this is cited in the Federalist Papers, and in Paine’s Common Sense. Each volume issued separately in London (the first two in 1774, the final volume in 1775). With half titles in all volumes. Adams 74-13, 74-14, 75-14. Sabin 9246. Sowerby 2720. Volume I title page with early paper repair to small section likely excised for owner signature, not affecting text. Text generally quite fresh with only lightest scattered foxing, beautifully bound. “All lawful authority, legislative, and executive, originates from the people.” February 2022 – 10 – Bauman Rare Books