A Controversial Scottish Book on Political and Social Reform Stuart, Gilbert [1743-1786]. Observations Concerning The Public Law, And The Constitutional History Of Scotland: With Occasional Remarks Concerning English Antiquity. Edinburgh: Printed for William Creech; And J. Murray, London, 1779. xxiii, 395 pp. Octavo (8-1/2" x 5"). Early nineteenth-century calf, gilt rules to boards, gilt spine, marbled edges and endpapers. Moderate rubbing to spine and extremities, armorial bookplate (of William Robertson) to front pastedown. Light toning to text, foxing in a few places, internally clean. $350. * First edition. A controversial book that raised issues of political and social reform (notably the question of Catholic emancipation which Stuart bitterly opposed) in Scotland. Stuart combined serious scholarly interest in legal institutions and social theory, with an ideological agenda pursued in a spirit of belligerence. In this respect the Observations is a quintessential work. Stuart holds a significant place in the Scottish Enlightenment precisely for the kind of inquiry into social evolution found, to some extent, in this work, and more especially in his successful View of Society in Europe, and in the Discourse on the Laws and Government of England (contained in his edition of Francis Stoughton Sullivan's Lectures on the Constitution and Laws of England.) For a full discussion, see William Sachs, Without Regard to Good Manners: A biography of Gilbert Stuart, 1743-1786 113-130. Sweet & Maxwell, A Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth 5:118.
Book number 61023