Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Supreme Court Justice and The Fundamental Constitution of Carolina

John Locke's The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina was a document designed to provide a governing structure for the Carolina colonies written while he was Secretary to the Lords Proprietor of Carolina.  Although there are remnants of England's feudal structure represented in The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, his progressive ideals for government liberally gave men more rights (both civil and political) as well as more property than England had previously allowed. 

During a visit to Charleston several years ago, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor expressed a desire to have a reproduction to read.  Her interest motivated the Library Society to investigate creating a facsimile, to which she agreed to write a foreword.

The Library Society received its original copy in 1833 from Robert Gilmor, Jr., a prominent Baltimore banker, merchant, and investor who was also a leading collector of art, books, and autographs. Gilmor was a Harvard graduate who traveled to Charleston in the winter of 1807. He met and married Sarah Ladson, daughter of Major James Ladson of Charleston, in April of 1807. 

In 1833 when the Library Society established an historical committee with the mission "to collect documents which would illustrate the history either of South Carolina or the United States," Robert Gilmor gave his "precious autograph of the profound Locke," to that collection. Now, 342 years after its creation and thanks to Justice O'Connor, the Library Society  has a number of limited reproductions of Locke's remarkable document available for purchase for $35.00.

Be sure to request your copy before these limited editions are gone!

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