Item #68987 English Liberties: Or, the Free-born Subject’s Inheritance. Henry CARE.
English Liberties: Or, the Free-born Subject’s Inheritance
English Liberties: Or, the Free-born Subject’s Inheritance

First Edition of a Defence of the Ancient Constitution and an Important Source Book for America's Founding Fathers

English Liberties: Or, the Free-born Subject’s Inheritance. Containing, I. Magna Charta, the Petition of Right, the Habeas Corpus Act; and divers other most useful statutes: with large comments upon each of them. II. The proceedings in appeals of murther; the work and power of parliaments; the qualifications necessary for such as should be chosen to that great trust. Plain directions for all persons concerned in ecclesiastical courts; and how to prevent or take off the writ De Excommunicato Capiendo. As also the oath and duty of grand and petty juries. III. All the laws against conventicles and Protestant dissenters with notes, and directions both to constables and others concern'd, thereupon; and an abstract of all the laws against papists.

London: Printed by George Larkin for Benjamin Harris, 1682.

Full description:

CARE, Henry. English Liberties: Or, the Free-born Subject’s Inheritance. Containing, I. Magna Charta, the Petition of Right, the Habeas Corpus Act; and divers other most useful statutes: with large comments upon each of them. II. The proceedings in appeals of murther; the work and power of parliaments; the qualifications necessary for such as should be chosen to that great trust. Plain directions for all persons concerned in ecclesiastical courts; and how to prevent or take off the writ De Excommunicato Capiendo. As also the oath and duty of grand and petty juries. III. All the laws against conventicles and Protestant dissenters with notes, and directions both to constables and others concern'd, thereupon; and an abstract of all the laws against papists. London: Printed by George Larkin for Benjamin Harris, [n.d.c.a. 1682].

First edition. An unrecorded variant of one of the two undated imprints listed in the ESTC, with a conjectured publication date of 1682. Twelvemo. [x], 228 pp. Without blank A1. With woodcut headpiece and initial.

Contemporary full sheep ruled in blind, rebacked to style. Red morocco spine label, lettered in gilt. Lacking front and rear pastedowns. Title-page with some invisible repairs, just touching a few letters and the double rule border. Some overall toning to paper. The final signature with some fraying to fore-edge, just touching a few letters. A few small wormholes throughout. Overall, a very good copy, housed in a quarter morocco clamshell.

First edition of a defence of the ancient Constitution, beginning with the Magna Carta. "English Liberties spread devotion for jury trials to the colonies. Care also deserves recognition for popularizing history, restyling political rhetoric, and promoting liberty of conscience." (Oxford DNB).

"Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a series of laws and enactments became identified with the idea of preserving England’s ancient liberties from royal overreach. These included Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, and the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, among others. Henry Care created and broadly circulated this pamphlet that contained these enactments, along with concise commentary drawn from Coke’s Institutes. Care’s pamphlet, which appeared in several American editions throughout the eighteenth century, was exceedingly popular in North America." (Library of Congress)

This text was an important source for many of the works of the founding fathers including "The Excellent Privilege of Liberty" (1687) by William Penn. It was used as inspiration for drafting the Virginia Declaration of Rights by George Mason, and Jefferson had two copies in his library.

"The importation from England, as well as the colonial publication, of English statutes and documents, law reports and juristic treatises, diffused, especially in the eighteenth century, a knowledge of the Common and Statutory Law, and thus acted as a very considerable factor in the extension of its principles—including the principles of Magna Carta and the English Constitution—throughout the colonies. Prominent among the books in the hands of the colonists were those dealing with the rights and liberties of Englishmen. Thus, among the first seven books printed in the colonies... [was] the fifth edition of Henry Care’s “'English Liberties or the Freeborn Subjects’ Inheritance' (1721)... of which contained Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the Habeas Corpus Act, and various other English statutes, as well as some of the leading English constitutional decisions and a general account of the liberties of the subject, trial by jury, and other constitutional matters." (The Influence of Magna Carta on American Constitutional Development. By H. D. Hazeltine, M.A., Litt.D. The Liberty Fund)

Maxwell and Maxwell I, p. 154. Wing C515. Not in ESTC; Cf. R31286

HBS 68987.

$8,500.

Price: $8,500.00

Item #68987

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