London, John Richards & Co., 1841 ('Third edition, revised and corrected to the present time').
Octavo, [ii] (title leaf), xviii, 476, civ (appendix and index) pages.
Early half tan calf and marbled papered boards with a contrasting leather title-label on the spine; covers a little rubbed and scuffed, with the head of both hinges slightly cracked (but firm); endpapers and adjacent leaves offset (mainly from the leather turn-ins); minimal scattered light foxing; early marginal emphases in pencil and (rarely) in ink, in particular to the later sections relating to the institutions and processes of government; related annotations on several pages; overall an excellent copy.
Western's apparent aim was to demonstrate the superiority of the English constitution over all other forms of government. In that context, the parochial provenance of this copy is hard to beat. The ownership signature of 'J.F. Burton, Adelaide 1850' appears at the head of the title page and on the front flyleaf (without the place-name). The latter is also signed in pencil 'J.H. Fisher' (James Hurtle Fisher), around which George Fife Angas has written 'Sept 21 1853. Presented by [JHF] to G.F. Angas'. The full name of George Fife Angas is also written there in pencil in what we recognize as a later secretarial hand, indicating (in our experience) that the book came originally from Angas's library. Sir James Hurtle Fisher (1790-1875) 'was one of the most important pioneers of South Australia': a lawyer, he was appointed first Resident Commissioner of South Australia, and arrived in the colony on the 'Buffalo' with the Governor's party. He eventually became a leader of the South Australian Bar ('Australian Dictionary of Biography'). Angas needs no introduction; suffice to say, the provenance takes some beating. We know little about Burton, other than that he was an Adelaide solicitor; he is mentioned as such occasionally in the local newspapers of the day.