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  • Theodore Sedwick. by [SAINT-MÉMIN, Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de. [SAINT-MÉMIN, Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de. ~ Theodore Sedwick. 1801.
    A RARE ‘PHYSIONOTRACE’ PORTRAIT OF THEODORE SEDGWICK (1746–1813), the American attorney, politician, and jurist who served in elected state government and as a delegate to… (more)

    A RARE ‘PHYSIONOTRACE’ PORTRAIT OF THEODORE SEDGWICK (1746–1813), the American attorney, politician, and jurist who served in elected state government and as a delegate to the Continental Congress, a U.S. representative, and a senator from Massachusetts. He served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate from June to December 1798. He also served as the fourth speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He was appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1802 and served there for the rest of his life. He died at Boston and he is buried at Stockbridge. A portrait by Gilbert Stuart of c. 1808 is at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

    Sedgwick studied theology and law at Yale College and though he did not graduate, he continued in his study under attorney Mark Hopkins of Great Barrington. He played a significant role in the abolitionist movement. As a relatively young lawyer, Sedgwick and Tapping Reeve had pleaded the case of Brom and Bett vs. Ashley (1781), an early ‘freedom suit’, in county court for the slaves Elizabeth Freeman (known as Bett) and Brom. Bett (also known as MumBet)was a black slave who had fled from her master, Colonel John Ashley of Sheffield, Massachusetts, because of cruel treatment by his wife. Brom joined her in suing for freedom from the Ashleys. The attorneys challenged their enslavement under the new state constitution of 1780, which held that ‘all men are born free and equal.’ The jury agreed and ruled that Bett and Brom were free. The decision was upheld on appeal by the state Supreme Court. She was the first enslaved African American to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. She marked her freedom by taking the name of Elizabeth Freeman, and chose to work for wages at the Sedgwick household, where she helped rear their several children. She worked there for much of the rest of her life, buying a separate house for her and her daughter after the Sedgwick children were grown. On her death the Sedgwicks buried her at Stockbridge Cemetery in the family plot.

    Before the advent of photography the physionotrace was ‘the first system invented to produce multiple copies of a portrait, invented in 1786 by Gilles-Louis Chrétien (1774–1811). In his apparatus a profile cast by a lamp onto a glass plate was traced by an operator using a pointer connected, by a system of levers like a pantograph, to an engraving tool moving over a copper plate. The aquatint and roulette finished engraved intaglio plate, usually circular and small (50 mm), with details of features and costume, could be inked and printed many times’ (Photoconservation.com, sub Printing Processes).

    The miniaturist Saint-Mémin (1770-1852) had emigrated from France in 1793 to Switzerland, where he practised as an engraver. Crossing the Atlantic to Canada and then the United States, he established a portrait business in New York with his compatriot Thomas Bluget de Valdenuit (who initially produced the drawings for Saint-Mémin to engrave). When Valdenuit returned to Paris, Saint-Mémin adopted an itinerant practice all over the East Coast states, working variously at Philadelphia, Richmond, Charleston and Burlington. He too returned to France in 1814, having destroyed his drawing apparatus in a symbolic end to a prolific artistic enterprise which produced more than a thousand different portraits of significant figures in American society, including Washington, Revere and Jefferson.
    fferent portraits of significant figures in American society, including Washington, Revere and Jefferson.

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  • between the Reform and the People. by A New and Political Form of Matrimony A New and Political Form of Matrimony ~ between the Reform and the People. [London]: T. Birt, No. 39 Great St. Andrew-Street Seven Dia[ls], [ 1832].
    A rare imprint of a popular satire on the Reform movement, in the form of a mock marriage service. The sheet is known with a… (more)

    A rare imprint of a popular satire on the Reform movement, in the form of a mock marriage service. The sheet is known with a J.V. Quick, Spitalfields imprint, but LibrarHub records no copy of this Birt imprint.

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  • Catalogue raisonné des ouvrages qui parurent en 1614 et 1615, a l’occasion des États. by (BIBLIOGRAPHY). (BIBLIOGRAPHY). ~ Catalogue raisonné des ouvrages qui parurent en 1614 et 1615, a l’occasion des États. [?Paris], 1789
    Sole edition of this bibliographical catalogue of 210 printed works issued at the time of the Estates General of 1614-15, comprising official documents, memoirs, counsels,… (more)

    Sole edition of this bibliographical catalogue of 210 printed works issued at the time of the Estates General of 1614-15, comprising official documents, memoirs, counsels, petitions, harangues, discussions of the death of Henry IV, arrêts du Parlement, pasquinades and satires. Each entry includes a line or two of commentary. An advisory body representing the three estates in France, the Estates General had met periodically from the middle ages to 1614, which proved to be its last assembly for over 150 years. As France headed towards revolution, the Estates General was summoned as a desperate measure in May 1789 on the model of the 1615 assembly—doubtless the occasion of this rare little bibliography. Conlon, 89, 1275. Though Conlon provides an NUC reference, OCLC lists no US copies. COPAC lists the BL copy only.

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  • The idea of the court of France, and the method of their proceedings, from the time of the Peace of Nijmeguen, until the spring of the year 1684. Supposed to be written by Don Pedro Ronquillo, the Embassador of Spain at the Court of England. Done out of Spanish into English. by RONQUILLO, Pedro. RONQUILLO, Pedro. ~ The idea of the court of France, and the method of their proceedings, from the time of the Peace of Nijmeguen, until the spring of the year 1684. Supposed to be written by Don Pedro Ronquillo, the Embassador of Spain at the Court of England. Done out of Spanish into English. London: for A. and J. Churchil, 1704.
    First edition in English of this diplomatic memoir by the Spanish ambassador to England. The anonymous editor suggests that the work was actually written in… (more)

    First edition in English of this diplomatic memoir by the Spanish ambassador to England. The anonymous editor suggests that the work was actually written in England but that it was first printed (in Spanish) in 1684 in Cologne. That first edition appears very rare.

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  • (SOCIETY OF THE FRIENDS OF THE PEOPLE). ~ A Letter to Mr. Hugh Bell, Chairman of the Convention of Delegates. [?Edinburgh, ?1792.]
    First edition of this pamphlet subscribed ‘a burgher of Edinburgh’ charging the chairman of the Scottish Convention of Delegates with having allowed the electoral principles… (more)

    First edition of this pamphlet subscribed ‘a burgher of Edinburgh’ charging the chairman of the Scottish Convention of Delegates with having allowed the electoral principles of the Society of Friends to become confused with the far more radical and un-parliamentary politics of Thomas Paine. Scarce.

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  • [HARDY, Thomas.] ~ The patriot. Addressed to the people, on the present state of affairs in Britain and in France. With observations on Republican government, and discussions of the principles advanced in the writings of Thomas Paine. Edinburgh: for J. Dickson and G. Nichol in London, 1793.
    First edition of a rather reactionary consideration of Paine’s republicanism which includes notice of the earlier critique by John Quincy Adams. A second edition appeared… (more)

    First edition of a rather reactionary consideration of Paine’s republicanism which includes notice of the earlier critique by John Quincy Adams. A second edition appeared later in the same year. Hardy was a Scottish cleric, not to be confused with the radical Thomas Hardy, founder of the London Corresponding Society. Their positions cannot have been much farther apart. Sabin 59081.

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  • The present State of the Law. The speech of Henry Brougham, Esq., M.P., in the House of Commons, on Thursday, February 7, 1828, on his Motion, that an humble Address be presented His Majesty, praying that he will graciously be pleased to issue a Commission for inquring into the Defects occasioned by Time and otherwise in the Laws of this Realm, and into the Measures necessary for removing the Same. by BROUGHAM and VAUX, Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron. BROUGHAM and VAUX, Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron. ~ The present State of the Law. The speech of Henry Brougham, Esq., M.P., in the House of Commons, on Thursday, February 7, 1828, on his Motion, that an humble Address be presented His Majesty, praying that he will graciously be pleased to issue a Commission for inquring into the Defects occasioned by Time and otherwise in the Laws of this Realm, and into the Measures necessary for removing the Same. London: Henry Colburn, 1828.
    First edition of Brougham’s famous six-hour speech (still the longest in the history of the House of Commons, though not then described as a ‘filibister’)… (more)

    First edition of Brougham’s famous six-hour speech (still the longest in the history of the House of Commons, though not then described as a ‘filibister’) which set in motion the long-overdue reform of the British legal system. In the course of the speech ‘he exposed flaws in virtually every area of law (omitting only chancery reform and the criminal law) and staked his claim to be parliament’s prime champion of law reform. Brougham’s speech struck the perfect note. He showed himself to be committed to a widescale reform of the legal system, while resisting Bentham’s iconoclasm. In preparing the speech he had in fact received much guidance (and many manuscripts) from Bentham, who still considered Brougham as the man best placed... to advance his projects for codification and the abolition of the common law’ (Oxford DNB).

    Though the recipient’s name has been erased, this copy has a presentation inscription by Elizabeth Vassall Fox, Lady Holland, literary and political hostess. It provides an interesting sidelight on her political sympathies.

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