1774 FORERUNNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, WITH THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS’ ASSERTION OF THE RIGHTS TO “LIFE, LIBERTY, AND PROPERTY”
(CONTINENTAL CONGRESS). xtracts from the Votes and Proceedings of the American Continental Congress, Held at Philadelphia, on the Fifth of September, 1774. Containing, The Bill of Rights, a List of Grievances, Occasional Resolves, the Association, an Address to the People of Great-Britain, and a Memorial to the Inhabitants of the British American Colonies. Philadelphia Printed. London: Reprinted for J. Almon, 1774. Octavo, original self-wrappers respined, uncut; pp.(2),59,(1).. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $3000.
Second English edition of this important “forerunner of the Declaration of Independence,” published by order of Congress, with the significant inclusion of the “Address to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec” that did not appear in the Philadelphia edition, one of only 500 copies printed of this scarce second edition.
Foremost in these extraordinary proceedings of the first Continental Congress is the “Bill of Rights,” which clearly and strongly defines and asserts the rights of the colonists. These fundamental rights, from “the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters,” include: “life, liberty, and property”; the rights and liberties granted to English citizens; representation and participation in legislation and government, especially in issues of taxation and internal policy; trial by jury; “a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their grievances, and petition the King.” These important rights and liberties were the defining issues of the revolution and became the foundation of the Declaration of Independence.
“The First Continental Congress met at Philadelphia on 5 September 1774… [and] evolved into a federal government of a nation at war… Congress faced a delicate task. America as a whole did not want independence; every path to conciliation must be kept open. But Congress had to do something about the Coercive Acts, and also to suggest a permanent solution of the struggle between libertas and imperium… The Continental Congress issued a Declaration of Rights stating that Americans were entitled to all English liberties… Congress then adopted a non-importation, non-exportation, and non-consumption agreement, virtually cutting off imports [to and from Britain if the Coercive Acts were not repealed]… The agreement was called The Association.” The Continental Congress also agreed to reassemble on 10 May 1775 if colonial rights and liberties had not been restored (Morison, 207-8). This important London edition contains the “Address to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec,” dated Oct. 26, 1774 (appearing on pp. 48-59), which did not appear in the original Philadelphia edition. Second English edition, one of only 500 copies printed in December the same year and by same publisher as first London edition; initially printed in Philadelphia on October 24, 1774. Howes E247. Sabin 15528. Adams, American Controversy 74-83c. Stevens 1926, 65-66. See Evans 13713. Owner signature. Numerical margin stamp.
Text quite fresh, self-wrappers with faint dampstaining, tape reinforcement to margins. A near-fine copy.