An Essay on the History of Civil Society. Adam Ferguson.

An Essay on the History of Civil Society.

1793. London: Printed for T. Cadell... MDCCXCIII [1793].

8vo, viii, 468 pp. Early polished calf, backstrip with five raised bands and red leather label; worn with scattered abrasions to the leather, light foxing but generally clean. From the library of Erasmus Hall, with their engraved bookplate on front pastedown and their later rubber stamp thrice on the front free endpapers. A worn but solid copy.

§ Sixth edition of the principal work of the philosopher Adam Ferguson, professor of moral philosophy at the University of Edinburgh and a leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment. "Ferguson is today remembered for his Essay, rather than for his contributions to moral philosophy or Roman history: he was what we would now call an intellectual historian, tracing the gradual rise of the human mind from barbarism to political and social refinement . His discussions of politics, economics, history, aesthetics, literature and ethnology were the synthesis of the thought of his time" (Encyclopedia of Philosophy III, 187). Quaritch writes of their copy: "Beginning with the general characteristics of human nature and the history of rude (i.e., primitive) nations, the Essay traces the history of social evolution through the rise of policy and arts ('Of National Objects', 'Of Population and Wealth', 'Of Civil Liberty', 'Of the History of Literature'), the advancement of civil and commercial arts, and their consequences. The final chapters discuss how nations can decline as the result of waste, luxury, corruption, and political slavery." Erasmus Hall was the first secondary school chartered by the New York State Board of Regents and was founded in Brooklyn in 1786. The bookplate clearly dates from early in the school's history and an ink note indicates this was book No. 300 of the school's library. Item #123372

Price: $250.00

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