Notes on the state of Virginia;


Notes on the state of Virginia;
written by … illustrated with a map, including the states of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
London, printed for John Stockdale, 1787

In stock


preceded only by the excessively rare privately printed Paris edition of 1785 and the French translation of 1786, this edition is the first to contain the large map.

Thomas Jefferson’s only published book. When Jefferson was in Paris in 1785 representing the United States as a diplomat, he paid to have 200 copies of Notes printed for private distribution. Widely considered the most important American book published before 1800 (Richard B. Bernstein, Thomas Jefferson: The Revolution of Ideas, OUP), Notes on the State of Virginia is both a compilation of data by Jefferson about the state’s natural resources and economy, and his vigorous and often eloquent argument about the nature of the good society, which he believed was incarnated by Virginia. He expressed his beliefs in the separation of church and state, constitutional government, checks and balances, and individual liberty.

The book also includes his most extensive discussion of his primitive views on race. Like many other eighteenth-century thinkers, Jefferson believed blacks were inferior to whites. He questioned whether their low status was due to inherent inferiority or to decades of degrading enslavement.


Second English edition, 8vo., iv, 382 pp., folding table, large folding map, modern half calf over marbled boards preserving contemporary spine, all edges red, with a fronitispiece portrait of Jefferson and a German map of North America added, a very good copy.


Sabin, 35896.


Stock ID: 97927