Title page

Cato’s Letters, vol. 4 (1737 ed.)

A facsimile of the 1737 edition. Volume 4 (December 1722 to December 1723) of a four volume set. Almost a generation before Washington, Henry, and Jefferson were even born, two Englishmen, concealing their identities with the honored ancient name of Cato, wrote newspaper articles condemning tyranny and advancing principles of liberty that immensely influenced American colonists. The Englishmen were John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon. Their prototype was Cato the Younger (95-46 B.C.), the implacable foe of Julius Caesar and a champion of liberty and republican principles. Their 144 essays were published from 1720 to 1723, originally in the London Journal, later in the British Journal. Subsequently collected as Cato’s Letters, these “Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious” became, as Clinton Rossiter has remarked, “the most popular, quotable, esteemed source of political ideas in the colonial period.”[Source: Gallica/BNF gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k94297j].

Cato’s Letters, or Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious, and Other Important Subjects (London: Witkins, Woodward, Walthoe, and Peele, 1737). Vol. 4.


This is a public domain text which was first scanned to PDF by Gallica, the digital library of the Bibliothèque national de France [gallica.bnf.fr]. The relevant clause states that “La réutilisation non commerciale de ces contenus est libre et gratuite dans le repect de la législation en vigeur et notamment du maintien de la mention de source.”

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