London: Printed for G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1788. First edition. 8vo, contemporary tree calf, red morocco label, gilt spine, xxviii, 184, 159, , 299 pages. Joints a bit cracked but quite sound, head of the spine chipped; a very good copy. Item #17829
The New Annual Register for 1787 here includes in the pages of its “Public Papers” section the “Plan of a new Constitution of the United States of America, agreed upon at a Convention held at New York,” which stands as an early publication of the U. S. Constitution in Britain. Founded by Andrew Kippis (Godwin’s tutor at Hoxton) as a Whig answer to Burke’s Annual Register, this annual compendium of history, politics, public documents, literature, poetry, and criticism for the year had since the 1783 number had its extensive section on “British and Foreign History” written anonymously by Godwin. Godwin gave up the position in 1791, having grown weary of the demands of the job and its limited scope—though as Peter Marshall notes in his life of Godwin, the work “demanded a detailed knowledge of leading events and personalities in Britain, Europe, India and America, as well as first-hand acquaintance with the parliamentary debates. In the next seven years Godwin was therefore to acquire a thorough understanding of contemporary history and politics” (68). See also Jack W. Marken, “William Godwin’s Writings for the New Annual Register.” Modern Language Notes. Vol. 68, No. 7 (Nov., 1953), pp. 477-479. This year’s number also includes accounts of astronomical discoveries by Herschel, and the Memorial of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society to the Constitutional Convention, as well as a note from Dublin dated June 19 on the successful tanning of goat-skins and calf-skins for book-binding “in the warm ooze wherein artichoaks, were boiled.”.