From the Library of John Peter Zenger's Defense Lawyer [Hamilton, Andrew (c.1646-1741)]. G[ardiner], R[obert]. Instructor Clericalis, The Third Part, Being a Collection of Choice and Usual Presidents for Pleadings Both in the Kings-Bench & Common-Pleas. London: Printed be [sic] the Assigns of R. And E. Atkyns, Esquires, 1706. [viii], 500,  pp. Octavo (7-1/2" x 4-1/2"). Contemporary calf, lacking front board and most of spine, rear board detached and worn, several signatures loose, "Instructor Clericalis 3d Part" in early hand to fore-edge of text block. Moderate toning, occasional dampstaining to margins, soiling and some edgewear to preliminaries and final leaves, signature of Andrew Hamilton to title page, brief early annotations, probably by Hamilton, to rear endleaves. Book housed in attractive cloth clamshell box. $7,500. * Andrew Hamilton was regarded as perhaps the finest lawyer in the colonies before he volunteered his services in defense of John Peter Zenger, who had been charged with libel in New York in 1735 for criticizing decisions of the governor in his newspaper. Hamilton's appearance in this case generated extraordinary public attention. Hamilton's defense was ingenious. Admitting that Zenger had violated the law, he used this admission as a defense by saying the jury (and not simply the court) was capable of judging both the law and the facts. Hamilton asked to the jury to judge the accuracy of Zenger's article. If it was accurate, he reasoned, it was not libelous. Acclaimed by the public, Zenger's acquittal is generally regarded as the first major victory for freedom of the press in the American colonies and a precedent for the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The annotations note sums owed by two men, J. Porrin and P. Wyatt, in addition to a memo about reciprocal covenants. English Short-Title Catalogue T200710.
Book number 72670