RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND THE LAW: FIRST SEPARATE EDITION (OR SECOND AMERICAN EDITION) OF THE APPENDIX TO BLACKSTONE'S COMMENTARIES
BLACKSTONE, William, PRIESTLEY, Joseph, and FURNEAUX, Philip. The Palladium of Conscience; or, The Foundation of Religious Liberty Displayed, Asserted, and Established, Agreeable to its True and Genuine Principles, Above the Reach of all Petty Tyrants, Who Attempt to Lord it Over the Human Mind. Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1773. Octavo, contemporary full brown sheep, raised bands, red morocco spine label. $6800.
First separate edition—second American edition overall—of this primary source on religious toleration in the context of English common law, with rebuttals, replies, arguments and defenses.
In his Commentaries, Blackstone classified religious non-conformity as a crime, intimating that Protestant "dissenters" were disloyal citizens and that the Church of England should be the ultimate authority. First published in Dublin (1769) and in Philadelphia (1772), this work consists of a refutation of Blackstone's argument by liberal theologian and defender of religious freedom Joseph Priestley, who notes that "the manner in which Dr. Blackstone has treated the Dissenters, is such as I should not have expected from a person of a liberal education… who being so perfectly skilled in the laws of his country, should have been better acquainted with the inhabitants of it." The Appendix additionally contains not only Blackstone's reply to Priestley's remarks, but also Priestley's answer to Blackstone's reply, Philip Furneaux's letters to Blackstone, the argument of Justice Foster in the case of Evans v. Harrison, and the speech of Lord Mansfield in defense of Evans. Aside from being the first complete collection of works on the controversy, the American editions of Priestley's Appendix presented the issue of religious tolerance at a crucial period in American history. His arguments served to temper Blackstone's tremendous influence on early American law, and undoubtedly affected the debate over the separation of Church and State. Additional title pages for each section. This is the first separate edition, identical to Blackstone's Interesting Appendix, sometimes considered either the second American edition or the third edition overall. Laeuchli 615. Evans 12328. Sabin 5697. Marvin, 589. Sweet & Maxwell I, 29-30. Harvard Law Catalogue II, 394. NYU, 34-35. Owner signature of Dudley Woodbridge, an attorney who also became a prominent Connecticut Merchant dealing primarily in rum and other foodstuffs as well as Norwich's first postmaster. Bookplate of Woodbridge's son, William Woodbridge, the governor of the state of Michigan (1840-1841) and a United States Senator (1841-1847). Owner stamps including to page 100. Shelf label. Latin phrase in ink.
Scattered dampstaining, a bit of foxing to interior, soiling and wear to contemporary sheep. A very good copy.