"ENJOYED AN IMMEDIATE SUCCESS… REPEATED BOOK-FORM PRINTINGS SPEAK OF AN ENDURING REPUTATION": TRENCHARD AND GORDON'S INDEPENDENT WHIG, 1736
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION) [GORDON, Thomas and TRENCHARD, John]. The Independent Whig: Or, a Defence of Primitive Christianity, and of Our Ecclesiastical Establishment, against the Exorbitant Claim and Encroachments of Fanatical and Disaffected Clergymen. London: Printed for J. Peele… and Sold by J. Osborn, 1736. Two volumes. 12mo, contemporary full speckled calf, raised bands, renewed red morocco spine labels. $1200.
Early edition of this pioneering and influential work by Thomas Gordon and John Trenchard, "the foremost libertarian thinkers of the early 18th century," who through these essays published in 1719-20 as an attack on the High Church party, and their subsequent contributions to the London Journal and the British Journal—known as Cato's Letters—directly influenced many of the founding fathers, including writers such as Franklin, Dickinson, Livingstone, Adams and Zenger.
"Trenchard's popular publications were those he produced in collaboration with Thomas Gordon… Gordon always celebrated Trenchard, his 'best Tutor' (Cato's Letters), and Trenchard's wealth probably underwrote the beginning of what proved to be an unrivalled success in the annals of early journalism. The Independent Whig, which appeared on Wednesdays from 20 January 1720 and ran for almost a year, censured what Gordon, Trenchard, and a third contributor—perhaps Anthony Collins—considered the ubiquitous and corrupt influence of high-church clerics propagating false divinity from their sacerdotal thrones… The Wednesday Whig and the Saturday missive [i.e., Cato's Letters] enjoyed immediate success, and repeated book-form printings of the Independent Whig and Cato's Letters during the 18th century, speak of an enduring reputation. Readers on both sides of the Atlantic and in the salons of continental philosophes found in these publications resonant rhetoric to sound their own causes" (ODNB). In the course of American political development during the 18th century, Trenchard and Gordon were "the foremost libertarian thinkers of the early 18th century" (Bailyn, The Press & the American Revolution, 66). "A number of these papers were originally published in December 1719, at the time of the rejection of the Peerage Bill" (Sowerby). First published in periodical form from 1719-20, and collected in book form in 1723; "sixth edition" stated on title page. Includes all 74 numbers of The Independent Whig; Volume II adds some related letters, sermons, and responses to sermons, delivered in 1731-33. Includes a sermon entitled "The Craftsmen," at the rear of Volume II, with separate title page (stating "sixth edition"), and a verse tribute to John Trenchard. Lowndes, 916. Sowerby 2739 (Jefferson owned a mixed edition from 1753). Early owner ink signature to title pages.
Interiors quite clean; short wormtrails to first few leaves of Volume II. Short split to rear joint of Volume II, bindings quite sound. A desirable, extremely good copy in contemporary calf.