np: Printed for the author, 1845. 8vo. 380 pp. FIRST EDITION. Contemporary marbled boards backed in straight-grained morocco, corners worn, joints and mid-spine starting to crack but still together; occasional foxing. Overall a good copy. Item #17409
First edition of this bitter attack on the constitution and the way it was working. He treats all aspects of government operation and social issues, including suffrage, freedom of press, commerce, state versus federal rights and privileges, currency, religion, slavery, separation of powers, criminal justice, the post office, schools, treatment of Native Americans, and many other aspects of government. He further provides his own very simple and straight-forward thoughts on the operation of an efficient government.
Mercer (1778-1858) practiced law and served in the War of 1812. He was elected to the House of Representatives and served as Congressman from Virginia from 1817 to 1839. As a Federalist and then Whig, he was not an abolitionist, and actually felt that the free blacks of America were a burden to taxpayers as well as a source of crime and disease, whose existence undermined the livlihood and dignity of workers in the North and the northern part of the South as those areas industrialized. As such, he became a founder of the American Colonization Society, which originated the plan for establishing the Free State of Liberia, intended to convince blacks to voluntarily be deported. The Society became a national presence with members such as James Madison, Henry Clay, John Marshall, John Randolph, John Taylor, William H. Crawford, Daniel Webster, Francis Scott Key, and James Monroe. However, once this book was published, Mercer was accused of being an abolitionist. After a limited distribution, he decided to suppress it, and had all of the copies he could locate destroyed.
An altered version of this work was printed in London in 1863 which left out most of the controversial portions.