Paris. 1792. Two volumes. ,xxiv,547; ,503pp. Half title in each volume. Bound in original wrappers of yellow printer's wastepaper, with other wastepaper used as the inner wrapper; original printed paper labels. Wrappers lightly stained. An occasional fox mark, else internally pristine. A fine set, in original, completely unsophisticated condition, untrimmed and unopened. Item #WRCAM35199
The first French edition, following London and Philadelphia editions of 1787, of one of the most important and widely read of the many writings of John Adams. This French edition was issued at a crucial moment in that country's history, as the Revolution was moving in a more radical direction. In 1792 the revolutionaries in the French Assembly stripped King Louis XVI of his power and declared him a prisoner of the nation. They called together the "Convention," initially created to draft a new constitution to replace that of 1791, but eventually becoming a provisional revolutionary government. This work by Adams, explaining and defending the principles of the American Constitution, would have been a timely and popular book indeed.
At the time Adams wrote this work he was serving as the first United States ambassador in England, an uncomfortable position for a recent rebel, but he was ever ready to argue the American point of view. Here he forcibly states the principles on which he perceived the United States to be founded. The book was popular and went through numerous editions in the United States and London. Its issuance as the Federal Constitutional Convention was assembling added to its popularity and resulted in several American reprintings, and according to the DAB, "its timeliness gave it vogue." Later, Adams' detractors sought to find in it a hidden desire for a monarchy.
A detailed exposition of Adams' political principles. An absolutely beautiful set, in original, untouched condition. HOWES A60. SABIN 237. DAB I, p.76.