William. An Enquiry concerning Political Justice and its Influence
on General Virtue and Happiness. London: G.G.J. and J. Robinson,
Quarto, early three-quarters vellum over marbled boards.
Two volumes. $8000.
edition of one of the most important political tracts of the 18th
Enquiry was, and remained, the work by which [Godwin] was best
known. It was
one of the earliest, the clearest, and most absolute
theoretical expositions of socialist and anarchist doctrine.
Godwin believed that the motives of all human action were
subject to reason, that reason taught benevolence, and that
therefore all rational creatures could live in harmony without
laws and institutions. Believing in the perfectibility of man, he
thought that our virtues and vices may be traced to the incidents
which make the history of our lives, and if these incidents could
be divested of every improper tendency, vice would be extirpated
from the world.” –Printing and the Mind of Man, 234.
Without half-titles. Internally clean, boards with minor wear.
A very handsome copy in early vellum.