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2020-12-18 05:37:44
Cowell, Benjamin
A few observations on the government of Rhode Island, &c. By a citizen
John Carter, November, 1807. First edition, 8vo, pp. 18; stitched, as issued; half-title and last leaf detached, but present; some fraying. Cowell graduated from Brown in 1803, was a clerk of the Federal courts and for a time Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1850 he published The Spirit of '76 in Rhode Island. Here, he writes: "The Charter granted by Charles II is generally considered [Rhode Island's] foundation ... Without therefore questioning the validity of this instrument, I will proceed to point out its defects, which are most palpable, and under which the people of this State will continue to suffer, until a remedy can be effected." Cowell, anticipating what would become the Dorr Rebellion (Dorr was two years old at the time) criticizes the Charter for leading to disproportional representation, but asserts that the greatest evil is lack of balance between branches, noting that the executive and judiciary are mere cyphers, "ushered into existence by the legislative, and kept under their immediate control ... sovereignty resides in the Assembly." Cowell seems little known as an antecedent to the Dorr Rebellion. He is not mentioned by Conoly in Democracy in Decline (1977), but is mentioned, as follows, in Dennison's The Dorr War: Republicanism on Trial (1976). Dennison misidentifies Cowell, referring to him as Colwell, and does not discuss this pamphlet specifically. "Benjamin Colwell [sic] who had joined the suffragist movement after the ratification election in January [1842], urged the people of Rhode Island to act in support of their 'second Declaratio … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Rulon-Miller Books (rulonmillerbooks) [Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States]
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