in the first place

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Related to in the first place: at first, to begin with, in the first instance
See: ab initio
References in classic literature ?
In the first place, he wrote his assumed name (by no means in so fine a hand as usual) on a blank visiting-card, and added underneath these words: "Not a moment is to be lost.
It seemed strange, to say the least of it, that she should have given no warning, in the first place, to my lady or to me.
The respect you owe the king," cried D'Artagnan, his eyes flashing fire, "consists, in the first place, in making his authority respected, and his person beloved.
In the first place, varieties, even strongly-marked ones, though having somewhat of the character of species--as is shown by the hopeless doubts in many cases how to rank them--yet certainly differ from each other far less than do good and distinct species.