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    A Rare Book Written Anonymously by John Adams

    [John Adams]. Discourses on Davila. A Series of Papers on Political History. Boston: Printed by Russell and Cutler, 1805. First edition. Octavo. 248 pages (bound without page [i]). Publisher's boards, pages untrimmed. Rebacked in modern gray cloth, modern printed paper label on spine. Original boards somewhat worn, some dampstaining, text toned, foxed and dampstained in several places. Some leaves with short marginal tears. Still, a good copy. This book by Adams was mainly a translation of Enrico Caterino Davila's history of the French religious civil wars (Historia delle guerre civili di Francia) of 1630. Adams used this opportunity to argue against an only one house of legislators system as embraced by the French revolutionaries described in this book, in favor of a bicameral system with checks-and-balances.

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    This book was not well-received by Adams' contemporaries, and he describes their hostile reaction to it: "This dull, heavy volume still excites the wonder of its author. First that he could find, amidst the constant scenes of business and dissipation in which he was enveloped, time to write it. Secondly that he had the courage to oppose and publish his own opinions to the universal opinion of all America, and indeed of almost all mankind. Not one man in America then believed him. He knew not one then, and has not heard of one since, who then believed him. The work, however, powerfully operated to destroy his popularity. It was urged as full proof that he was an advocate for monarchy and labouring to introduce an hereditary President and Senate in America."

    Sabin 239.

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