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DISCOURSES CONCERNING GOVERNMENT
London: Printed, and to be sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster, 1698. First Edition. From the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: "Polemically a refutation of Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha (1680) [in which Filmer argued for the divine right of kings], the practical purpose of the Discourses is ... to argue for armed resistance to oppression". Almost certainly Sidney's most significant work, the Discourses Concerning Government has been called "the textbook of the American revolution" [see Caroline Robbins, "Algernon Sidney's Discourses Concerning Government: Textbook of Revolution," William and Mary Quarterly, 1947, 3rd Series 4:266]. Jefferson had a copy of the 1763 edition in his library [Sowerby III, 12]. In response to a truly fawning letter from Mason Locke Weems ["your Excellency's Wisdom, Humanity, and Rank, have made you as a Sun in our land"] Jefferson replied in kind: "...you ask my opinion on the subject of publishing the works of Algernon Sidney...the world has so long and so generally sounded the praises of his Discourses on government, that it seems surperfluous, and even presumptuous, for an individual to add his feeble breath to the gale. they are in truth a rich treasure of republican principles, supported by copious & cogent arguments, and adorned with the finest flowers of science." The writing of this work cost Sidney his head [Sowerby III, 13]. The First Edition, in contemporary speckled calf with some minor surface loss from some ancient varmint. There is an old name inked through on the title page. Front hinge reinforced, old patches to the spine extremities, and an armorial bookplate for William Weld, Oxon on the pastedown. (ODNB; Wing S3761; ESTC R11837; Sowerby III, 12, 13).
      [Bookseller: Black Swan Books, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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