"BE ENCOURAGED, ALL YE FRIENDS OF FREEDOM… TREMBLE ALL YE OPPRESSORS OF THE WORLD!": FIRST EDITION OF RICHARD PRICE'S DISCOURSE, 1789, TRACING THE COURSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS FROM ENGLAND'S 1688 GLORIOUS REVOLUTION TO THE AMERICAN AND FRENCH REVOLUTIONS
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION) PRICE, Richard. A Discourse on the Love of Our Country, Delivered on Nov. 4, 1789… to the Society for Commemorating the Revolution in Great Britain. With an Appendix. London: Printed by George Stafford for T. Cadell, 1789. Slim octavo, period style half brown calf and marbled boards; pp. [iv], , 2-51, , , 2-3, , 5-13, , . $4000.
First edition of Price's controversial and incendiary work on the revolutionary progress of human rights from England's 1688 Glorious Revolution to the American and French Revolutions, sparking Edmund Burke's strong refutation of Price in Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) and an eloquent endorsement from Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790).
Richard Price, a close friend of Franklin and John Adams, was "the most influential British advocate of American independence" (Howes P586). In November 1789, within months of the French Revolution, Price stood before a London meeting of the Society for the Commemoration of England's 1688 Glorious Revolution and, with this provocative Discourse in praise of revolution, triggered a war of words that sparked Edmund Burke's incendiary refutation in Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), and prompted a ringing endorsement of Price in Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790). In this important first edition of his Discourse, Price triumphantly traces the course of human rights furthered by revolution—from England's Glorious Revolution to the American and French Revolutions. "Be encouraged, all ye friends of freedom," he writes. "Behold, the light you have struck out, after setting America free, reflected to France… Tremble all ye oppressors of the world!… You cannot now hold the world in darkness." Above all, Price's Discourse remains a powerful and eloquent "essay on patriotism, its true nature, its rights and duties. According to Price our paramount duties are to enlighten our fellow men as to the proper functions of religion and government, to inculcate the virtues, and to assert and defend our rights and liberties. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 was justly celebrated because it established the principles of the Constitution: 'First; The right to liberty of conscience in religious matters. Secondly; The right to resist power when abused. And, Thirdly; The right to chuse [sic] our own governors; to cashier them for misconduct; and to frame a government for ourselves'"(Thomas, 150). With Appendix containing a printing in English of the French Declaration of Rights. With scarce half title, rear ad leaf. ESTC T31992. Kress B1697. Goldsmith I:14055.
Text fresh with only light scattered foxing. A fine wide-margined copy, handsomely bound.