London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1794. 3 volumes: port. frontis, , 8, xxxii, -392; , 451, ; , 528,  pp. Light private rubberstamp on front free endpaper of each volume. Volume I has the portrait frontis, which is somewhat foxed in the margins. Bound in contemporary tree calf, expertly rebacked with original spines laid down [some spine chipping] and original gilt-lettered black morocco spine labels. Gilt spine bands. Light foxing, Very Good.
The book was first published in London in 1787 as a single volume, just as the Constitutional Convention assembled in Philadelphia. This is Adams's completed work and final edition.
"John Adams, it is safe to say, bestowed more thought on the nature of government, and exerted more influence in determining the character of the constitutions adopted during the Revolution by most of the original states, than any one of his contemporaries. When, therefore, Turgot attacked these constitutions because of 'an unreasonable imitation of the usages of England,' and because of a want of centralization, it was natural that Adams should come forward as their champion" [Larned].
The Defence "has ably combated the opinions of Turgot, Mably, and Price, who were in favour of a single Legislative Assembly, and by it has contributed much towards establishing that division of power in our Legislative Assemblies, with its proper checks and balances, which we now enjoy. His accounts of other republics and their governments, are accurate and well drawn, and show the author to have been a man of extensive reading, and well acquainted with his subject" [Marvin].
Howes A60aa. Marvin 50-51. Larned 2687. Sabin 235. Cohen 2735. Item #29409