First Complete American Edition of Adams's Landmark Study of America's Constitutions Adams, John [1735-1826]. A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, Against the Attack of M. Turgot in His Letter to Dr. Price, Dated the Twenty-Second Day of March, 1778. Philadelphia: Printed by Budd and Bartram, For William Cobbett, 1797. 3 volumes. 6, xxxiii, , -392; [iv], 451; [ii] 528,  pp. Volume I has six-page subscriber list. This copy does not have the copperplate portrait frontispiece found in some copies (see note at end of annotation below); each volume collates complete. Volume II has half-title, it lacks the blank front endleaf. Final two leaves of Volume III bound in reverse order. Octavo (8" x 5"). Contemporary tree sheep, carefully rebacked retaining spines with lettering pieces and gilt fillets, hinges mended. Light rubbing and a few shallow scuffs and nicks to boards, moderate rubbing to spines and extremities with some wear to corners and spine ends. Light toning to text, somewhat heavier in places, light foxing to some leaves. A notably handsome copy. $4,500. * The first American edition of the complete three-volume text, this from the 1794 London edition. First published by Adams in 1787-1788 in London when he was the American ambassador at the Court of St. James, the Defence was a profound influence on the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the framers of several post-Revolutionary state constitutions. It also did much to familiarize Europeans with the novel political events taking place in America. Adams intended the Defence to be a one-volume work. He added two more volumes in 1787 and 1788 to offer more examples and address issues raised by critics. The first volume, reprinted from the London edition, was reprinted in New York and Philadelphia in 1787 and Boston in 1788. An abridged two-volume French translation was published in Paris in 1792. The third edition, a corrected reprint of the second and final London edition, 1794, was the only complete three-volume text published in the United States. This copy does not have the portrait frontispiece that was bound in some copies of Volume I. It is generally accepted that many were issued without one and there is no consensus concerning the priority of the two versions. Howes, U.S.ia.
Book number 65282