America: Philadelphia: Printed for the Subscribers, by Robert Bell, 1773. , iv, -119, [1 blank], xii, 155, [1 advt.] pp [as issued]. A general title page, each part with separate divisional title pages. Attractive modern half calf and marbled boards, gilt-lettered red morocco spine label, raised spine bands. Scattered light foxing and toning. Very Good.
This bold challenge to Blackstone, the authoritative source on the Common Law, was Joseph Priestley's first American book. This is the second edition, first published by Bell in the previous year. The book illuminates the controversy between Priestley and Blackstone on issues of freedom of conscience and religious liberty. Priestley, a radical Whig who in America was a republican and anti-Federalist, defends personal liberties and the necessity of strict governmental limitations. This resonated well with Americans as Revolution became imminent. The six titles presented defend the primacy of religious liberty, toleration, and personal autonomy against the incursions of government advocated by Blackstone. Blackstone's responses are also printed.
Evans 12684. Hildeburn 2859. Marke 34 [recording only this edition]. I Harv. Law Cat. 191. Marvin 589 [ref.]. Item #33313