"THEY WILL NOT FIND A REBELLION: THEY MAY INDEED MAKE ONE": MOST DESIRABLE LARGE-PAPER QUARTO FIRST EDITION OF FRANKLIN'S POLITICAL, MISCELLANEOUS, AND PHILOSOPHICAL PIECES, 1779, THE ONLY COLLECTION OF HIS POLITICAL WRITINGS PRINTED IN HIS LIFETIME AND WITH HIS CONSENT, HANDSOME IN CONTEMPORARY CALF BOARDS
FRANKLIN, Benjamin. Political, Miscellaneous, and Philosophical Pieces; Arranged under the Following Heads… General Politics; American Politics Before the Troubles; American Politics During the Troubles; Provincial or Colony Politics; Miscellaneous and Philosophical Pieces. London: J. Johnson, 1779. Quarto, contemporary polished brown calf rebacked and recornered, raised bands, red morocco spine label, later endpapers. $14,800.
First edition, wide-margined copy of the preferred quarto issue, of this major collection of Franklin's writings, many printed here for the first time, containing his powerful testimony before Parliament in 1766, in which his eloquent answers to questions about the Stamp Act and other incendiary measures made Franklin "the foremost spokesman for the American cause," complete with three plates (one folding) and folding table, an exceptional copy with a distinctive 19th-century provenance in contemporary calf boards.
This important work "is the only edition of Franklin's writings (other than his scientific), which was printed during his life time; was done with Franklin's knowledge and consent, and contains an 'errata' [Addenda & Corrigenda] made by him for it" (Ford 342). Edited by his close friend Benjamin Vaughan and published in London while Franklin was serving as America's ambassador, this seminal collection contains many of his writings on the rebellious American colonies and incendiary British measures such as the Stamp Act. Of particular interest is The Examination of Dr. Benjamin Franklin (255-301), a record of his 1766 appearance before Parliament. In Franklin's answers to the over 150 questions posed him in an afternoon of "highly charged testimony, he would turn himself into the foremost spokesman for the American cause" (Isaacson, 229). Responding to a question over how Americans might react to a British army sent to enforce the Stamp Act, Franklin replied that if such an army landed on American shores: "They will not find a rebellion: they may indeed make one" (275-6). In subsequent testimony he soundly declared that Americans saw themselves as fully due "all the privileges and liberties of Englishman… that they are not to be taxed but by their common consent (italics in original, 297)). In addition to these and other pivotal writings—including pieces on the "Way to Wealth," language, scientific experiments and observations on the Aurora Borealis, this volume offers first printings of many philosophical pieces that, the editor notes, "are not elsewhere extant in print." This quarto issue precedes the octavo issue of the same year. Franklin's famous epitaph is printed prior to a lengthy appendix, an index and Franklin's Addenda and Corrigenda. With a frontispiece portrait of the aged Franklin, three scientific plates (one folding), and folding table of a "reformed" spelling convention. Ford 342. Howes F330. Sabin 25565. See Adams 79-38a. This memorable copy is from the library of the 19th-century American diplomat and bibliophile, Henry William Lord, with his armorial bookplate. Appointed by President Lincoln in 1861 as a consul to England, Mr. Lord returned home to represent Michigan's First District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1881-1883. His bookplate is printed with the name of "West Wind Farms," the elegant estate he built in the 1850s near Pontiac, Michigan. This copy also contains a very small notation in an unidentified hand on the front pastedown, and two later bookplates. Small bookseller ticket.
Interior generally quite fresh with only light scattered foxing, minimal rubbing to boards. An especially desirable near-fine copy.