"THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO CREATE A WRITTEN CONSTITUTION": FIRST EDITION OF A POSTHUMOUS COLLECTION FEATURING JOHN LOCKE ON THE CONSTITUTIONS OF CAROLINA, WITH THE FIRST PRINTING OF FOUR ADDITIONAL ESSAYS INCLUDING HIS ELEMENTS OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY
LOCKE, John. A Collection of Several Pieces of Mr. John Locke, Never Before Printed, or not extant in His Works. London: J. Bettenham for R. Francklin, 1720. Octavo, contemporary full paneled brown calf rebacked with original spine laid down, raised bands.
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.
"It would be difficult to overstate John Locke's influence on the American Revolution." His political thought is especially central to "the Declaration of Independence… [and] Locke's flavor is found as well in documents other than the Declaration. His ideas were adopted by a 1774 resolution of the North Carolina Assembly asserting that government invasion of liberties was justification for revolution" (Doernberg, California Law Review 73:57-66). That foundational Lockean stamp on the North Carolina resolution can be traced back to 1663, when Charles II gave patents for Carolina colonies to Lord Ashley, later Earl of Shaftesbury, and seven other noblemen. Ashley asked Locke, then his secretary to the Lord Proprietors of Carolina, to draft a model constitution, which emerged as one of the most liberal documents of its day. Though the full extent of Locke's involvement in not known, many of his contemporaries "assigned him a major role" (Attig). Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, its original draft from 1669, is "the first instrument ever digested and written out, for the entire and perfect government of a political body. Though impracticable in many particulars, it undoubtedly suggested to the colonists many hints which were beneficial in their civil and political organization" (Sabin 41726). Within its pages are "the distinguished beginnings of the Carolina constitution, and apparently the first attempt to create a written constitution" (Streeter II:1119). Includes the first publication of Locke's Elements of Natural Philosophy, Some Thoughts Concerning Reading; Remarks upon some of Mr. Norris's Books and Rules of a Society. Though Fundamental Constitutions was first printed in 1670, only in this 1720 edition is the work "here first 'printed from Mr. Locke's copy, wherein are several amendments made with his own hand'" (Pforzheimer 596). Title page with "Francklin" (Yolton and Pforzheimer first issue); engraved title-page vignette of a woman seated with two cherubs identified by Pforzheimer as first state. Dedication with "P. DES MAIZEAUX: a "stop-press addition" (Yolton 316B). With engraved plate of the Solar System; ornamental initials, head- and tailpieces, errata and three pages of advertisements at rear. Attig 787, 789, 790, 800. 802, 811. Lowndes V:1380. Norman 1382. Pforzheimer 596. Turnbull I:58. Thornton 7863. ESTC T117306. Sabin 41726. See Wing 2743A. Early owner signature above title page.
Text fresh and crisp; expert restoration to contemporary calf binding.