An Account of Denmark as it was in the Year 1692; bound together with: An Account of Sueden [Sweden] Together with an Extract of the History of that Kingdom [by John Robinson] and Franco-Gallia: Or, an Account of the Ancient Free State of France, and Most Other Parts of Europe, Before the Loss of Their Liberties [by Robert Viscount Molesworth]
London: Printed for Timothy Goodwin, at the Queen’s Head against St. Dunstan’s Church in Fleet Street, 1694. Third edition corrected. Octavo. Three works bound together in attractive contemporary paneled calf, re-backed. Minor scuffing and wear to boards, including one-inch surface chip to front panel; owner notations to front pastedown and titles of the first two books; occasional marginalia and spotting and toning to leaves; faint staining affecting upper-right corner of certain leaves of third book; offsetting to certain leaves; else a bright and impressive assembly of these influential works, custom bound into one volume together with accompanying advertisements. Item #23
An Account of Denmark: London: Printed for Timothy Goodwin, at the Queen’s Head against St. Dunstan’s Church in Fleet Street, 1694. Third edition corrected.
An Account of Sueden: London: Printed for Tim. Goodwin at the Queen’s Head, against St. Dunstan’s Church in Fleet Street, 1694. First edition.
Franco-Gallia: London: Printed for Tim. Goodwin, at the Queen’s Head against St. Dunstan’s Church, Fleet-Street, 1711. First edition in English.
Robert Molesworth, First Viscount Molesworth (1656–1725) was an Anglo-Irish politician and ardent Whig writer whose An Account of Denmark as it was in the Year 1692 (first published in 1694) became famous among the American revolutionists for its demonstration that the liberty of a people is dependent upon their vigilance in preserving it. Molesworth’s tract on Denmark represented an early form of comparative political analysis at a time when political science was just emerging as a discipline. Molesworth, an ardent British Whig, served as the British ambassador to the Court of Denmark from 1689 to 1692, during which time he composed his fervent attack on the Danish absolutism initiated by Danish King Frederick III. His objective was to show how the subversion of constitutional liberties rendered an otherwise free government despotic, and he used his experience in Denmark as a case study. Molesworth argued that the absolutist corruption he observed in Denmark poisoned the commonwealth just as a disease sickens the body, and that by diagnosing and comparing the symptoms, a people may properly treat and avoid the harmful results. In furtherance of his analysis, Molesworth would later publish (in 1711) an English translation of Francis Hotoman’s Franco-Gallia (originally published in Latin in 1574), which traced the loss of liberties in France as a result of the crown’s usurpation of power. Both works therefore warned against incremental encroachments upon liberty and authority. Similarly, the British diplomat and Swedish envoy John Robinson (1650–1723) wrote his An Account of Sueden Together with an Extract of the History of that Kingdom to challenge the subjugation of the Swedish peoples by their king and the confiscation of their property through the use of force, bribery, and coercion. Robinson’s Account of Sueden was first published by Timothy Goodwin in 1694 shortly after the publication of the third edition of Molesworth’s Account of Denmark, and Goodwin published the tract anonymously and without Robinson’s authorization. Goodwin defended his publication by emphasizing in his introduction that since “several copies of it were got abroad, I considered it might at last chance to come forth in Print less Correct than at present I undertake to give it to the World, whom I pretend to oblige by a very Accurate Edition.” Goodwin concludes by expressing his hopes that the author (Robinson) “will not be offended at this Undertaking, since ’tis likely ’twould have been published by others, not so well to his Advantage.” Goodwin included in his publication of the Account of Sueden an advertisement for the recently printed third edition of Molesworth’s Account of Denmark; and he would later include an advertisement for the Account of Sueden in his 1711 publication of Franco-Gallia. This exceptional book assembles all three works with Goodwin’s advertisements. Molesworth’s Account of Denmark was popularly held and studied in Revolutionary America, and all three works would exert a profound influence on the defense of freedom in Europe and America at the turn of the nineteenth century.