London: Printed for A. Millar, opposite to Catherine-Street, in the Strand, 1749. First authorized edition. Octavo. Two works bound together in contemporary quarter calf, marbled boards with vellum corners, black morocco spine label letters in gilt. Some scuffing to boards, contemporary ink signature to front fly-leaf: “P Griffin St. Edmund Hall, Oxon, July 1764.” Bright and well-preserved. Very good-plus. Item #24
Letters, on the Spirit of Patriotism: London: Printed for A. Millar, opposite to Catherine-Street, in the Strand, 1749. First authorized edition.
Letters of the Honourable Algernon Sydney: London: Printed for R. Dodsley, at Tully’s Head in Pall-Mall, 1742. First edition.
First authorized edition of Henry St. John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke’s (1678–1751) most influential political tracts, bound together with the first edition of the letters of Algernon Sidney (1623–1683) to Henry Savile. Assembling Bolingbroke’s three famous Letters written in the 1730s following his exile from England upon the accession of King George I, this bright first edition contains Bolingbroke’s On the Spirit of Patriotism, The Idea of a Patriot King, and Of the State of Parties at the Accession of King George I. Bolingbroke was an English Tory politician, government official, and political philosopher who supported the failed Jacobite rebellion of 1715 that sought to overthrow King George I. After escaping to France (in disguise) in the wake of the failed uprising, Bolingbroke would become foreign minister for the Pretender (James Francis Edward Stuart) and pen his famed political tracts, which argued for an end to political partisanship, a balancing of the English constitution, and the restoration of virtue by a king acting on purely patriotic grounds. It is reported that Bolingbroke entrusted early versions of the Letters to his friend and English poet, Alexander Pope, and that Pope, unbeknownst to Bolingbroke, secretly published 1,500 copies of The Idea of a Patriot King. As a result, Bolingbroke is said to have purchased and destroyed all of the Pope copies before authorizing the first publication of this corrected edition of the Letters in 1749. Accompanying Bolingbroke’s Letters is the first edition publication of Algernon Sidney’s letters to Henry Savile, envoy-extraordinary to Louis XIV. In his letters to Savile, Sidney, the celebrated English politician and republican theorist, reports to his friend on the turbulent state of English politics. Sidney would later be tried and executed in 1683 on account of his alleged role in the Rye House Plot as well as for the thought contained in his seminal work Discourses Concerning Government, which was first published posthumously in 1698. Both Bolingbroke and Sidney would greatly influence the thought of America’s founding generation. John Adams is reported to have read all of Bolingbroke’s works multiple times, and Thomas Jefferson would later claim of Sidney’s Discourses that the work offered “the best elementary book of the principles of government, as founded in natural right, which has ever been published in any language.” A handsome first edition compilation of Bolingbroke and Sidney.