HAMILTON, ALEXANDER, JAMES MADISON, and JOHN JAY.
The Federalist: A Collection of Essays Written in Favour of the New Constitution. New York: John and Andrew M’Lean, 1788
First edition. This splendid example of The Federalist is one of a very small number of special deluxe copies printed on thick paper.
The Holy Bible, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: Newly Translated. London: by Robert Barker, 1613-1611
The Great “She” Bible, the “authorized version” or King James Bible, one of the greatest monuments of English literature.
Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, traduit de l’Anglois.. “Londres [Paris]: Fletcher Gyles”, 1755
First edition of the book that is, “more emphatically than any other single work, the cradle of political economy”
Commentaries on the Laws of England. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1765-1769
First edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries, a monument of the Anglo-American legal and political system and one of the key influences on the thought of the Founding Fathers and the shaping of the Constitution.
“at once the best book ever written on democracy and the best book ever written on America.” - Harvey Mansfield on Democracy in AmericaTOCQUEVILLE, ALEXIS DE
De la Democratie en Amerique. Paris: Charles Gosselin, 1835, 1840
FIRST EDITIONS. The most influential commentary on America in the nineteenth century, Democracy in America was based on Tocqueville’s travels in the United States in 1831 and 1832. Tocqueville came to America to study the American prison system on behalf of the French government. The book resulting from these investigations is generally considered the 19th century’s most insightful commentary on the development of our unique American culture and political system.
“the first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying” - land as private property, a new era in capitalismBENESE, RICHARD
This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande, as Well of Woodlande, as of Lande in the Felde and Comptynge the True Nombre of Acres of the Same. [edited by Thomas Paynell.]. Southwark: James Nicolson, [1537 or 1538?]
FIRST EDITION of “the first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying” (Buisseret, Monarchs, Ministers, and Maps). The book focused on practical methods calculating everything from the amount of stone needed to pave a chamber floor to the size of a pasture or field” marking “the beginning of a new interest in measuring not just the assets of the land, but the land itself” (D. K. Smith, Cartographic Imagination in Early Modern England).
La Historia di Italia. Florence: Lorenzo Torrentino, 1561
FIRST EDITION. A “masterpiece of scientific history,” Guicciardini’s History of Italy was “undoubtedly the greatest historical work that had appeared since the beginning of the modern era. It remains the most solid monument of Italian reason in the 16th century, the final triumph of that Florentine school of philosophical historians which included Machiavelli …” (Britannica, 11th ed.).
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.. London: Strahan and Cadell, 1776-1788
First editions of all six volumes of the most celebrated historical work in English literature. Gibbon’s Decline and Fall covers the thirteen centuries from the age of Trajan to the fall of Constantinople with unmatched erudition, clarity, and organization. “Gibbon brought a width of vision and a critical mastery of the available sources which have not been equaled to this day; and the result was clothed in an inimitable prose” (PMM).
“Every man has a certain sphere of discretion which he has a right to expect shall not be infringed by his neighbours. This right flows from the very nature of man.”GODWIN, WILLIAM
Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its influence on General Virtue and Happiness. London: Robinson, 1793
FIRST EDITION. In Political Justice, his most famous work, Godwin responds to Burke’s attacks on the French Revolution and Thomas Paine. He applies the principles of the Revolution to inquire into the philosophical basis of government. Believing that political and social institutions are tyrannical and corrupt, Godwin calls for reason to guide human affairs and advocates individual liberty.
(HOLMES ,OLIVER WENDELL, Jr.)
American Mahogany Butler’s Desk from the Holmes family home at 296 Beacon Street, Boston. American, ca. 1830
Justice Holmes’s butler’s desk from the family home on Beacon Street.