Boston: White and Adams, 1780. 18pp, without the half title. Modern wrappers over boards. Trimmed closely at the outer margin, barely touching a single letter. Lightly toned, Good+.
This plea for ratification of the State Constitution, drafted by John Adams, reflects the American insistence on strictly limited government, with powers separated and controlled by a system of checks and balances. The Constitution, replacing the colonial charter, was "drafted by the first body which could rightfully be called a constitutional convention" in Massachusetts. [V Dictionary of American History 166]. "Of the original thirteen states only Massachusetts has avoided the necessity of wholesale revision of her constitution. Her 1780 document, while extensively amended, still serves her." [Id.].
Of Adams, DAB says, "The plan submitted to the convention was largely his." Adams urges toleration for differing views: otherwise, "we shall not soon, if ever, be bles'd with such a Constitution as those are intitled to, who have struggled hard for Freedom and Independence." He argues that "Powers of Government must be balanced," to avoid the twin evils of Anarchy and Tyranny. "To do this accurately requires the highest Skill in political Architecture...[S]uch Checks should be added to every Branch of Power as may be sufficient to prevent its becoming formidable and injurious to the Commonwealth." The Address emphasizes that the Constitution provides "for the free exercise of the Rights of Conscience."
FIRST EDITION. Evans 16843. II Harv. Law Cat. 80. Not in Marvin, Gephart, Marke, Cohen. See, Reese Revolutionary Hundred 64, for the first printing of the ratified Massachusetts Constitution. Item #33061