America / Philadelphia: Printed for the subscribers, by Robert Bell, 1772. First Edition. Full Leather. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" Good. Item #00534899
The first edition of an important work of tremendous influence on the Founding Fathers and the course of American Democracy. Issued for subscribers only. A copy with fine provenance. Bell's powerful volley collects leading thinkers advocating the rights of the individual and freedom of expression, in counterpoint to Blackstone. It was issued on the eve of the Revolution, and went through several editions quickly. The bold statement on the title page that "America" was the place of publication of this important work was matched by its impact. This copy is bound in contemporary brown calf, spine with raised bands and red morocco label, numeral "5" blindstamped. There is some rubbing to the spine and boards, and some browning and foxig to text; a bit less than half of the front endpaper is lacking. PROVENANCE: "L. Riddick*" printed in red on title page (offsetting from the ink penetrates several pages). According to genealogical records, there was only one adult male named Riddick whose name begins with "L" in the colonies at that time. Col. Lemuel Riddick (or occasionally Reddick) was burgess for Nansemond county, Virginia from 1736 to 1775 and member of the Second Virginia Convention of March 20 1775. The Second Virginia Convention was a meeting of the Patriot legislature of Virginia which opened in Richmond on March 20, 1775. The delegates to the Second Virginia Convention were selected by the First Virginia Convention, which took place from August 1-6, 1774. It elected delegates to the Second Continental Congress, and was the setting for Patrick Henry's famous speech, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Henry gave his speech on March 23, after which it was resolved that the colony be "put into a posture of defence: and that Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Robert Carter Nicholas, Benjamin Harrison, Lemuel Riddick, George Washington, Adam Stephen, Andrew Lewis, William Christian, Edmund Pendleton, Thomas Jefferson and Isaac Zane, Esquires, be a committee to prepare a plan for the embodying arming and disciplining such a number of men as may be sufficient for that purpose." Riddick was one of the signers of the Stamp Act passed by the House of Burgesses of Virginia. Though a slaveholder, he authored a bill to ban the slave trade during the runup to the Revolutionary War. He was one of the two Burgesses appointed to draft what became the 1755 "two penny act", notable in the history of the tobacco trade. He is one of the founders of Suffolk, Virginia, and is credited with giving the city its name. In addition to his service with George Washington on the above Militia committee, he is recorded as having worked with Washington in the 1760's during the surveying of the Great Dismal Swamp. His son (also named Lemuel) was appointed by Washington as Surveyor in 1791. 119, xii, 155 pages, 1 page of ads at rear; 19 x 24 cm Contents: 1. Priestley's Remarks on some paragraphs in the 4th vol. of Blackstone's Commentaries, relating to the dissenters -- 2. Blackstone's Reply to Priestley's Remarks -- 3. Priestley's Answer to Blackstone's Reply -- 4. The case of the late election of the county or Middlesex considered on the principles of the constitution and the authorities of law -- 5. Furneaux's Letters to the Hon. Mr. Justice Blackstone concerning his exposition of the Act of toleration, and some positions relative to religious liberty, in his celebrated Commentaries -- 6. Authentic copies of the Argument of the late Hon. Mr. Justice Foster in the Court of judges delegates, and of the Speech of the Right Hon. Lord Mansfield in the House of lords, in the cause between the city of London and the dissenters.