"ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD": RARE FIRST EXPANDED EDITION OF PRICE’S ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, 1785
PRICE, Richard. Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution, and The Means of making it a Benefit to the World. To Which Is Added, A Letter from M. Turgot, late Comptroller-General of the Finances of France: With An Appendix, containing a Translation of the Will of M. Fortune Ricard, lately published in France. London: Printed for T. Cadell, 1785. Octavo, period-style full red morocco gilt, black morocco spine label; pp.[i-iv], v, (vi), vii-viii, (1)-156. $3200.
First revised and expanded edition, published only one year after the first, of Price's Observations, the preferred edition with nearly 50 additional pages.
In a 1784 letter to his friend Benjamin Franklin, Price wrote: "I look upon the Revolution [in America] as one of the most important events in the history of the world." "His offering of Goodwill" became Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution (1784). On publication of this expanded edition in March 1785, "Price sent copies of it to Franklin, Jefferson and Adams, and he may well have sent one to Washington as well" (Correspondence, 271n). In a letter to Jefferson, Price noted of this edition: "You will find that I have made considerable additions by inserting a a translation of Mr. Turgot's letter and also a translation of a French tract convey'd to me by Dr. Franklin" (Sowerby 2993). With American independence newly won, Price here weighs both the promise of universal liberty and the dangerous potential of failure. "The consequence will be," he writes, "that the fairest experiment every tried in human affairs will miscarry; and that a Revolution which had revived the hopes of good men and promised an opening to better times, will become a discouragement to all future efforts" (85). Price, "an intimate friend of Franklin, was the most influential British advocate of American independence" (Howes P585). Preferred first revised and expanded edition. "Letter from Turgot" in French and English. Appendix with separate title page, containing "The Testament of M. Fortuné Ricard" (1784). Without errata slip. Sabin 65450. Kress B939. ESTC T12991. See Sabin 65449; Evans 18739; Goldsmiths 12522, 12825; Kress B768; Sowerby 2993.
Text quite fresh with mere trace of foxing to title page, minor expert paper repairs to title page and last leaf, neither affecting text. A rare near-fine copy.