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BURGH, James.

Political disquisitions: or, an enquiry into public errors, defects, and abuses.

printed for E. and C. Dilly, London , 1774-5 Stock Code: 98419
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First edition of Burgh's work in which he espoused an early form of universal (male) suffrage, and promoted the need for freedom of speech: "In a country which pretends to be free, and where, consequently, the people ought to have weight in the government, it is peculiarly necessary that the people be possessed of just notions of the interest of their country, and be qualified to distinguish between those who are faithful to them, and those who betray them. It must, I think, fill every generous mind with indignation, to see our good-natured countrymen abused... by a succession of pretended patriots, who... have screwed out their predecessors, and wormed themselves into their places. To teach the people a set of solid political principles, the knowledge of which may make them proof against such gross abuse, is one great object of this publication" (pp.xi-xii). The volumes were issued separately, with the first two published in 1774 and the third in 1775; it was followed by the US edition later the same year. The book had a profound effect upon the Founding Fathers, with John Adams declaring it to be "a book which ought to be in the hands of every American who has learned to read" (Wood, Creation of the American Republic, p.165). The US edition is also listed in the catalogue of Thomas Jefferson's library, and he and other members of Congress were subscribers to the US edition.

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3 volumes, octavo. Modern cloth-backed grey flecked boards, green calf labels to spine lettered gilt, red and blue sprinkled edges.


Boards slightly toned and spotted, contents mildly foxed. Small ownership inscription cut away and replaced with old paper at head of first title; an excellent set.


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