London: Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand, . , 128 pp, lacking the half title. Pages 32-48 are moderately spotted, mostly in the margins; otherwise a clean text. Later marbled wrappers bound into later half morocco and brown pebbled cloth [lightly rubbed, bookplate removed from front pastedown]. Good+.
[offered with] ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE NATURE AND VALUE OF CIVIL LIBERTY, AND THE WAR WITH AMERICA: ALSO, OBSERVATIONS ON SCHEMES FOR RAISING MONEY BY PUBLIC LOANS; AN HISTORICAL DEDUCTION AND ANALYSIS OF THE NATIONAL DEBT; AND A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE DEBTS AND RESOURCES OF FRANCE. London: Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand. 1777. xvi, 176 pp. Light spotting and toning to the title leaf. Bound a bit clumsily, with title leaf loosening, in modern two-toned cloth. Lacking the free endpapers. Good+.
The first edition of each of these highly influential works. Of the 'Observations,' Church writes, "The encouragement derived from this book had no inconsiderable share in determining the American colonists to declare their independence." It "ranks next to Paine's Common Sense as the most often reprinted work of its time. It is said to have had considerable influence on the drafting of the Declaration of Independence" [Decker]. Advocating eloquently the Natural Rights theory of Liberty, Price warns, "There is nothing that requires more to be watched than power. There is nothing that ought to be opposed with a more determined resolution than its encroachment."
In the separately-issued 'Additional Observations,' a "continuation" [Adams] of the 'Observations,' Price adheres to his embrace of Natural Rights and its axiom that government requires the "dominion of EQUAL LAWS, made with COMMON CONSENT and not... of ANY MEN OVER OTHER MEN." Of the War against America, "I cannot expect any other than a tragical and deplorable issue to this contest." The War "must shock the feelings and the reason of every considerate person; a war in which rivers of blood must be shed, not to repel the attacks of enemies, or to maintain the authority of government within the realm, but to maintain sovereignty and dominion in another world." From this perspective, he answers authoritatively each British argument favoring the War. Price also absolves the Colonists of responsibility for African Slavery. "It is not the fault of the Colonies that they have among them so many of those unhappy people. They have made laws to prohibit the importation of them; but these laws have always had a negative put upon them here because of their tendency to hurt our Negro trade."
FIRST EDITIONS. Observations: Howes P586. Adams, American Independence 224a. Adams, American Controversy 76-118a. Church 1137 [Fifth Edition]. 31 Decker 21 [later London edition].
Additional Observations: Howes P583. Adams, American Controversy 77-75a. Kress B.71. Item #30462