Philadelphia. 1797. Three volumes. 6,xxxiii,-392; ,451; ,528,pp. With a leaf of manuscript bound in as frontispiece in first volume (see below). Antique-style half calf and marbled boards, spines gilt, leather labels. Light foxing. Very good, with contemporary ownership signature of John Lorimer Graham on titlepages. Item #WRCAM50028
Styled the "third edition." The first volume was originally published in London in 1787. The second and third volumes, issued later than the first, contain descriptions of the Italian republics of the Middle Ages as well as a lengthy analysis of "the Right Constitution of a Commonwealth." This work is one of the most important and widely read of the many writings of the important Revolutionary figure and second president of the United States. 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. Herein he forcibly states the principles on which he perceived the United States to be founded. The book was popular and went through numerous editions. 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." Adams' detractors later sought to find in it a hidden desire for a monarchy. This copy belonged to John Lorimer Graham, a distinguished New York City attorney and at times Postmaster of the city, who has signed and dated the titlepage of each volume. Graham acquired the volumes in 1817, when he was a law student. He also wrote out at some later point an appreciative appraisal of the work, bound in the front of the first volume. HOWES A60, "aa." EVANS 31689-31691. SABIN 235. GEPHART 8687.