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Discourses on Government. To which is added, An Account of the Author's Life, and A Copious Index. [Preface by John Toland the publisher of the 1698 edition]
New York: Printed for Richard Lee by Deare and Andrews, 1805. First American edition. Two editions were printed the same year, priority has not been established. Frontispiece portrait. 3 vols. 8vo. Contemporary tree calf, later maroon morocco labels. Some rubbing to extremities, short crack along top of joints, heads of spines chipped, light offsetting or browning of text, but an attractive copy. Signature of N. Mackenzie and stamp of N. L. Tilney on titles and blanks. Brown cloth open-end box. First American edition. Two editions were printed the same year, priority has not been established. Frontispiece portrait. 3 vols. 8vo. Written in answer to Filmer's "Patriarcha" (first published in 1680) this work was first published in 1698. This edition, beside the main work contains "The Apology of Algernon Sidney in the Day of his Death" and "The Trial of Algernon Sidney." Sidney's "Discourses on Government" "vindicates the propriety of resistance to kingly oppression or misrule, ... maintains the authority of parliaments" and "upholds the doctrine of the mutual compact." (Ency Brit). As can be imagined, this work was of great interest to the American colonies. Influenced by Sidney and the writings of Locke and Harrington, which also urged man to hold strong onto those endowed rights and the laws, the Americans in the 1760s and 1770s attempted to prove that the King was taking away rights and liberties to which they were entitled as Englishmen. And that they "argued and fought, not to obtain freedom but to confirm the freedom they already had or claimed." (Morison, "Oxford History") Sidney, Locke and Harrington were "staples" of American government and cited for years. Sidney was a close friends with William Penn and his involvement in the drafting of Pennsylvania's constitution has often been speculated. Curiously enough, around 1803 and for several years following, political pamphlets and essays were published by "Algernon Sidney." They tended to be explanations or defenses of Jefferson's policies. These were the work of Gideon Granger, American statesman, and postmaster general during Jefferson's administration and during much of Madison's. As postmaster general he journeyed about the country for Jefferson and reported on the people and political situations in the country. He was the author of "A Vindication of the Measures of the Present Administration" (1803); "An Address to the people of New England" (1808, a vindication of Jefferson's administration); and other works under his own name. For an account of Sidney's influence on the colonies see Caroline Robbins' "Algernon Sidney's 'Discourses Concerning Government:' Textbook of Revolution." The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, IV, (1947), pp. 267-96. Shaw and Shoemaker 9360
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