Item #39264 THE TWO TRIALS OF JOHN FRIES, ON AN INDICTMENT FOR TREASON; TOGETHER WITH A BRIEF REPORT OF THE TRIALS OF SEVERAL OTHER PERSONS, FOR TREASON AND INSURRECTION, IN THE COUNTIES OF BUCKS, NORTHAMPTON AND MONTGOMERY, IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, BEGUN AT THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, APRIL 11, 1799... BEFORE THE HON. JUDGES IREDELL, PETERS, WASHINGTON AND CHASE, TO WHICH IS ADDED, A COPIOUS APPENDIX, CONTAINING THE EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENTS OF THE COUNSEL ON BOTH SIDES. John Fries.

THE TWO TRIALS OF JOHN FRIES, ON AN INDICTMENT FOR TREASON; TOGETHER WITH A BRIEF REPORT OF THE TRIALS OF SEVERAL OTHER PERSONS, FOR TREASON AND INSURRECTION, IN THE COUNTIES OF BUCKS, NORTHAMPTON AND MONTGOMERY, IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, BEGUN AT THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, APRIL 11, 1799... BEFORE THE HON. JUDGES IREDELL, PETERS, WASHINGTON AND CHASE, TO WHICH IS ADDED, A COPIOUS APPENDIX, CONTAINING THE EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENTS OF THE COUNSEL ON BOTH SIDES.

Philadelphia: William W. Woodward, 1800. 4, 226, 51, [1 blank] pp, [as issued]. Untrimmed, generously margined, and entirely unsophisticated. Stitched with gathered signatures. Last leaf [publisher's advt] with a hole and ink blotch affecting about three words; title leaf chipped at blank fore-edge and spotted. Otherwise, minor scattered foxing. Good+.

An extraordinarily thorough account of the first American trial to define treason as a violation of the notorious Sedition Act; and one of the earliest American treason trials. "Treason" requires the defendant to have levied war against the United States, or given aid and comfort to its enemies. Fries and friends were convicted of levying war against the U.S. by forcibly resisting execution of a single statute, here the hated Window Tax, which imposed the first direct federal tax. See 9 Fed. Cases 847 et seq.
This comprehensive report of the trials includes remarks of counsel, testimony of witnesses, and rulings and observations of articulate, talented and angry Federalist judges. This is "the most noteworthy of the trials in which United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase's abusive manner led to proceedings of impeachment against him" [Cohen].
Just as President Washington pardoned the Whiskey Insurrectionists, who had similarly been convicted of treason, so President Adams pardoned Fries, asking rhetorically, "Is there not great danger in establishing such a construction of treason, as may be applied to every sudden, ignorant, inconsiderate heat, among a part of the people, wrought up by political disputes, and personal or party animosities?" 9 Works of John Adams 58 [1854].
FIRST EDITION. Evans 37104. Marvin 174. II Harv. Law Cat. 1080. Marke 1032. Cohen 14175. Item #39264

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