Almost a generation before Washington, Henry and Jefferson even were born, two Englishmen, concealing their identities with the honoured 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 BC), 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 so popular that virtually 40 per cent of the American colonists' private libraries contained copies of them.
The history of liberty in America is therefore not understandable, and might never have occurred, without "Cato's Letters".
For in them, the nature of politics and tyranny, the proper limits of government, and freedom of conscience as indispensable to individual liberty are deliberately and eloquently explored. This two-volume edition offers minimally modernised versions of the letters from the four-volume sixth edition printed in London in 1755.