A Landmark Work on a Fundamental English Right [Somers, John Somers, Baron (1651-1716), Attributed]. The Security of English-Mens Lives, Or the Trust, Power, And Duty of the Grand Jurys of England. Explained According to the Fundamentals of the English Government, And the Declarations of the Same Made in Parliament by Many Statutes. Published for the Prevention of Popish Designs Against the Lives of Many Protestant Lords and Commoners, Who Stand Firm to the Religion and Ancient Government of England. London: Printed for Benj. Alsop, 1682. 168 pp. Octavo (6" x 3-3/4"). Contemporary sheep, rebacked in period-style calf with gilt fillets, blind ornaments and lettering piece, endpapers renewed, blind rules to boards. A few stains, scratches and scuffs to boards, which are slightly bowed, wear to lower corner of rear board. Moderate toning to text, occasional light browning to margins, lower right-hand corners lacking from two endleaves, right-hand corner of leaf A2 (pp. 3-4) repaired with minor loss to text, legibility not affected. $750. * Second edition. This influential essay defined a hearing before grand jury of peers as a fundamental English right. An assertion of the priority of the law over the English crown, it was written to support the right of a grand jury to reject the bill of indictment against Anthony Ashley-Cooper, First Earl of Shaftesbury, issued by Charles II (a pro-Catholic monarch). Published anonymously, this work is attributed in most sources to Somers. A barrister of the Middle Temple and an important Whig statesman, he was Lord Chancellor of England during the reigns of William and Mary and Queen Anne and presided over the framing of the Bill of Rights (1689). As one would suspect, this book was studied by the American founding fathers. English Short-Title Catalogue R10363.
Book number 72520