Lot 1 of 338:
John Adams' Defense of the Constitutions, 1787  

Click image to enlarge
Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$2,040
$3,000 - $5,000

A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America

Adams, John


Printed for C. Dilly [and John Stockdale]



Volumes I and II. [blank leaf], [2], xxxi, [1], [3]-292 pp., [blank leaf]; [2], 451 pp., blank leaf. (8vo) 20.7x12.2 cm (8¼x4¾"), rebound in buckram, spines lettered in gilt. First Edition.

The first two volumes of the full three-volume set of the defense by John Adams of the new U.S. Constitution - the first volume was printed first, and issued separately, and the two subsequent volumes were published later in 1787 (Vol. II) and in 1788 (Vol. III). They were sold separately or together during that period, and incomplete sets and stray volumes do appear. But the 1787 Dilly printing of Volume I is the first edition, whether issued separately or in tandem with the subsequent volumes. The work comprises an important series of letters from the American patriot and second President, defending the U.S. Constitution from European criticisms of the doctrine of legislative balance. Adams compares the constitutions of the various states of the Union, and of the Union itself, with those of foreign countries and ancient cultures. Adams wrote these works while Minister to Britain, admiring their parliamentary system, but praising the U.S. Constitution as "admirably calculated to preserve the Union". Vols II-III were printed for C. Dilly and John Stockdale. Inkstamps of Bromley Library Institute to the bottom margins of title pages. Bookplates of Laurence Sears. Howes A60; Sabin 234. Leaf B1 in Vol. I not present, as seems to be the norm; initial blank in Vol. II not present.

Lot Amendments

Spines a bit a bit sunned; some faint foxing within; very good.

Item number:
Shipping info:

We have a full service shipping department to ensure proper packing and safe delivery of purchases at reasonable cost. We are specialists at packing and shipping books and works on paper.   All lots purchased by the same client are combined for shipping in order to keep the cost as economical as possible.  Our preferred method for domestic shipments is UPS Ground but we can also ship via FedEx or USPS Priority Mail. We do NOT ship USPS Media Mail under any circumstances.For international orders we select the most appropriate carrier depending on the value and weight of the items purchased.  We are happy to accommodate special arrangements by request.

Invoices are sent out the day following the auction and include a minimum $10 handling fee plus actual shipping and insurance charges.

Shipping estimates can be obtained  by contacting [email protected] prior to the auction.


Terms and conditions


All accepted bids are contracts and are considered final and non withdrawable.


A buyer's premium of 20% will be applied to all purchases.


The person posting the bids online has to be the person who has registered for the auction.