Boston: Printed by David Carlisle for Joseph Nancrede, 1801.
First edition. 54pp. 1 vols. 8vo. Later marbled paper wrappers Sabin 93496; Shaw & Shoemaker 1374. See Leonard Levy, Legacy of Suppression: Freedom of Speech and Press in Early American History (Belknap Press: 1960). Item #365825
Sullivan (1744-1808) was a leading jurist and politician in Massachusetts, serving on its supreme court, practicing as one of the state's leading lawyers, and acting as attorney general from 1790 to 1796. He became governor in 1807 and died while in office. Sullivan was "throughout his career a man to be reckoned with as perhaps the richest, ablest, and most powerful of the Democrats...in what was Federalist territory" (DAB).
Leonard Levy cites this tract as one of the most important works on freedom of the press to be published in the wake of the suppression of the Alien and Sedition laws "which compose the main body of original and significant Jeffersonian thought on freedom of speech-and-press." Of the authors of those works, Sullivan was the most contradictory. As attorney general, he had prosecuted cases for seditious libel against the legislature, and he was not ready to accept the full libertarian stance of such authors as Tunis Wortman; instead, he attempted more simply to reconcile freedom of the press and the common law of criminal libel. Perhaps Sullivan's background caused him to be somewhat nearer the Federalists on freedom of the press issues. His opinions, Levy suggests, may have been the reason for his choice of anonymous authorship of the present pamphlet.
Scarce, with only a single example in the auction records in the last half century.
Price: $4,500.00 Free International Delivery