Published by Kearsley, Fleet Street and Ridley, St James Street, London in 1777
Octavo, 404 pages, bound in full “’tree” calf with gilt decoration to the borders of front and back boards, gilt decoration to spine, black leather title label, maybe later. A beautiful example. Bookplate of first owner, Sir William Curtis Baronet to front paste-down. A few marks around the title otherwise a very good if not better copy.
An 18th Century classic first published in Holland in 1771. Highly praised by Bentham who compared it with the distinguished work of Blackstone. John Louis de Lolme was born at Geneva in 1740 and arrived in England in 1769 where he began studying its Government intrigued by the peculiarity of the system. After a year he began his book … it was complete within another year and published in French as we say in Holland. Seemingly, it was pirated by unknown parties and a poor translation appeared with booksellers in England. De Lolme had the book withdrawn (it cost him a princely sum) and published this translation assisted by Baron Maseres who had been in England for many years and had Chambers at the Temple Bar.
The work enjoyed a high reputation and appeared at a time that Constitutional matters were being vigorously debated. Written in an easy style the book flatters the national pride by representing England as the only country where Government was strong and free. Reviewers thought the work contained many shrewd observations on political affairs and contained genuine original thought.
The first owner Sir William Curtis (1752-1829) was an English businessman, banker and politician. Born in Wapping the son of a sea-biscuit manufacturer who supplied the Navy (money in that!). He became a Member of Parliament for the City of London in 1790 holding the seat for 28 years. For a period, he was also the Lord Mayor of London. He was made 1st Baronet of Cullands Grove in 1802. He later declined a Peerage.
Of very special interest is that, from his amassed wealth Sir William was owner of several vessels, one being the Lady Penrhyn which, on its first voyage, participated in the Arthur Phillip’s First Fleet and carried 101 female convicts to Botany Bay, New South Wales. The ship went on into the Pacific and named Curtis Island, a new discovery after its owner.
Fine 18th Century Constitutional Review – Once the Property of First Fleet Ship Owner – Sir William Curtis.