An Enquiry concerning Political Justice, and its Influence on General Virtue and Happiness. London: Printed for G.G.J. and J. Robinson, 1793
2 volumes, 4to (11 5/8 x 9 in.; 295 x 228 mm, uncut). Two half-titles, errata leaf and directions to the binder bound in first volume preceding first text page; minor tear in fore-margin of first half-title, first few leaves of each volume lightly soiled with a few spots, very occasional light spotting elsewhere, a few clean marginal tears not affecting text. Contemporary gray-brown boards, ms. titles on spines, in a red cloth drop-box; joints cracked, backstrips and edges worn.
Joseph Robertson Raines (armorial bookplate dated 1831)
PMM 243; Rothschild 1016; Adams, Radical Literature 40; Goldsmiths' 15825; Kress B2529
Extraordinary copy of one of the most radical books of the revolutionary years at the end of the 18th century, by the founder of philosophical anarchism.
Published just weeks after the execution of Louis XVI, and written in response to Burke's Reflections, Godwin's tract attacks all restraints on the exercise of individual judgement - in the belief that human opinons will become progressively more enlightened with the growth of knowledge. Among Godwin's targets were established religion and marriage, and he believed that government itself would ultimately become unnecessary.
A crisp wide-margined copy.
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