Judgment of Whole Kingdoms and Nations

Daniel DEFOE   |   John SOMERS   |   John DUNTON

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Item#: 118917 price:$6,800.00

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"THAT CAUSE IS JUST WHICH DEFENDS THE LAWS, WHICH PROTECTS THE COMMON GOOD… THAT CAUSE IS JUST WHICH DOES DESTROY TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT": DEFOE AND DUNTON'S JUDGMENT OF WHOLE KINGDOMS, 1710, CONTAINING THE SEED OF AMERICA'S BILL OF RIGHTS AND "REPRINTED IN AMERICA TO JUSTIFY THE REVOLUTION"

(DEFOE, Daniel) (DUNTON, John) (SOMERS, John). The Judgment of Whole Kingdoms and Nations, Concerning the Rights, Power, and Prerogative of Kings, And the Rights, Priviledges, and Properties of the People: Shewing, The Nature of Government in General, both from God and Man… London: Printed for, and Sold by T. Harrison, 1710. Small octavo (5 by 8 inches), contemporary brown blind-stamped sheep sympathetically rebacked and recornered; pp. (i-vi), (blank), 1-71 (1). $6800.

Rare 1710 edition of Judgment of Whole Kingdoms and Nations, preceded only by the 1709 edition titled Vox Populi; Vox Dei, a powerful and influential argument against absolute monarchy that would later be published throughout the colonies on the eve of the American Revolution. This is the work of Daniel Defoe and John Dunton, though in the past it has been attributed to John Somers.

This provocative work, which examines principles of limited monarchy and the right of resistance to tyranny, is based on historical precedents and reiterates opposition to absolute monarchy during the time of England's Glorious Revolution. The author declares: "The same Reason that obliges People to submit to Governors and Magistrates when they govern according to the Laws and Constitution of the Country, and act for the Good of the Society, does as much oblige the People to oppose them… That Cause is just which defends the Laws; which protects the common Good; which preserves the State… That is just which does destroy tyrannical Government." It is authoritatively described as: "A liberal constitutional argument about the English Revolution of 1688, reprinted in America to justify the Revolution. Usually attributed to Lord Somers, sometimes to Defoe" (Sabin). Judgment of Whole Kingdoms contains the seed of what would become the American Bill of Rights—reprinting the English Bill of Rights—and was read by many of the Founding Fathers, including John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who owned the Philadelphia 1773 edition. Preceded only by the 1709 edition titled Vox Populi; Vox Dei; being True Maxims of Government. Several American printings were published and circulated throughout the colonies on the eve of the Revolution, including editions issued in Philadelphia in 1773 (Evans 13023), and in Newport, RI, Boston and New York in 1774 (Evans 13631-13633). ESTC T143633. Sabin 19280 [attributed to Defoe]; See Sabin 86795-98 [att. to Somers]. Lowndes, 618 [att. to Defoe]. "This tract, erroneously attributed to Lord Somers, has been assigned to Daniel Defoe and to J. Dunton" (Halkett & Laing) See Sowerby 2712 for edition owned by Jefferson. Early owner ink signature to first few leaves, including title page; another owner signature excised from upper corner of title page, not affecting text. Early owner annotations to rear blanks.

Text generally fresh with mild toning not affecting legibility, restoration to rear blank leaves. A very good copy, especially scarce in contemporary boards.

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