Lot 161 of 429:
James Harrington's Oceana 1700  

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The Oceana of James Harrington, and His Other Works; Som Whereof are Now First Publish'd from His Own Manuscripts. The Whole Collected, Methodiz'd, and Review'd, with an Exact Account of His Life Prefix'd, By John Toland

Harrington, James


Printed, and are to be Sold By the Booksellers



xliv, 546 pp. With engraved frontispiece and Harrington's portrait, by Peter Lely. Additional plate facing p. 113 entitled  "The manner and use of the Ballot." (Folio) 36x22 cm (14x9"), period tree calf rebacked with modern calf, red morocco spine label lettered in gilt.  

David Hume called Harrington's 'The Commonwealth of Oceana' "the only valuable model of a commonwealth that has yet been offered to the public." First published in 1656, it is a combination of historical analysis, Utopian romance, and a written constitution. First Collected Edition. 

The work is dedicated to Oliver Cromwell and relates how such a leader, acting as a benevolent dictator, could establish an ideal commonwealth in present-day England. The author examines historical republics, notably those of Greece, Rome, and Venice; and his vision of Utopia is balanced by a realistic system of honest balloting, rotation in office, and other checks and balances. Harrington is also fully aware of the importance of economic factors. This collected edition includes a quantity of significant related material. This second edition with significant additions absent from the first collected edition of 1700.

Lot Amendments

General wear and darkening to original boards; some soiling to endpapers with a few small closed tears to edges, interior bright with some light toning at page edges; very good.

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