Timothy B. Wilder

Rare Books


19th Century American Philosophy

(June 2000)


BROWNSON, ORESTES A. A Discourse on the Wants of the Times, Delivered in Lyceum Hall, Hanover Street, Boston, Sunday, May 29, 1836. Published by Request. Boston: James Munroe & Co., 1836. 1st ed. 8vo. 23 pp. Removed, stab holes in gutter margin. Foxed, small tear in fore-edge of title. Bold contemporary owner's signature on verso of title has migrated through to fore-edge. $100.00 A stirring discourse on the "New Church" which was to be the subject also of Brownson's important first book of the same year. The theology and institutions of the church have gotten out of sync with the times. The principal "wants" that need to be addressed are a tolerance for free inquiry and the spirit for social reform. Earlier in the thirties Brownson had been associated with Robert Dale Owen and Fanny Wright and had helped to found the Workingmen's Party. "In 1836 he organized his own church among the laboring men of Boston, calling it the Society for Christian Union and Progress, and during the same year published.his first book, New Views of Christianity, Society and the Church, in which he condemned both Catholicism and Protestantism and celebrated the 'Church of the Future.' Eloquent and irascible, Brownson had now become a force both on the platform and in the press."--DAB. The text of this Discourse was appended to Harriet Martineau's Society in America (1837) but without the "Advertisement" (pp. iii-iv) prefixed here.

BROWNSON, O.A. The American Republic: Its Constitution, Tendencies, and Destiny. New Edition. New York: P. O'Shea, [cop. 1865]. 8vo. xvi, 439 pp. Orig. decorated beveled cloth. Prize bookplate (1879) from St. Louis University on front pastedown. $75.00 Attractive, bright copy of a circa 1870's[?] reprinting of the first separate edition (1866) of a thoroughly revised and enlarged version of articles published in the Democratic Review in 1842. This printing not noted by Howes B885. A significant work of political philosophy by the "stormy petrel" of American intellectual life in the mid 19th century. Early on a romantic, Idealist, marginal Transcendentalist and radical Democrat, Brownson, disillusioned with the results of the election of 1840, shocked his liberal friends by becoming a Whig. He converted to Catholicism in 1844 and increasingly came to question the virtue of popular sovereignty. "Gradually he saw that the basic issue was between republicanism and democracy; republicanism was a respect for natural law, constitutional order, and a pursuit of the general welfare of the people, but not by the people. He now became convinced that true freedom in both government and morals is to be found conformity to the Divine Order or Providential Design rather than in claiming private independence or individual rights. His conversion to a republican Catholicism (under the influence successively of Channing, Leroux, and Gioberti) gave him a new social philosophy and an iconoclastic form of orthodoxy."--Schneider, History of American Philosophy. In Brownson's own words, "I [now] reject the doctrine of State sovereignty, which I held and defended from 1828 to 1861, but still maintain that the sovereignty of the American Republic vests in the States, though in the States collectively, or united, not severally...." The view that national identity antedates, historically and logically, legal institutions was the foundation of an important theory of constitutional law developed by John Codman Hurd and others.

EVERETT, ALEXANDER HILL. Critical and Miscellaneous Essays. Second Series. Boston: James Munroe, 1846. 1st ed. 8vo. [4], 474 pp. Original blindstamped cloth. Light, uniform browning of sheets, else a fine, crisp copy. $45.00 Comprises 11 essays, mostly from the Democratic Review and North American Review, including several of philosophical interest: "De Gerando's History of Philosophy" (pp. 185-223); "Stewart's Philosophy" (233-300); and "History of Intellectual Philosophy" (381-451).

HEDGE, F.H. Conscience and the State. A Discourse, Preached in the Westminster Church, Providence, Sunday, April 27, 1851. Published by the Society. Providence: Joseph Knowles, Printer, 1851. 1st ed. 8vo. 15 pp. Later cloth-backed boards, original front printed wrapper bound in. Small shelf label at head of wrapper, pamphlet folded vertically at some point, else very good. $45.00

HICKOK, L.P. Rational Cosmology: Or the Eternal Principles and Necessary Laws of the Universe. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1858. 1st ed. 8vo. 397 pp., plus leaf of publisher's ads at end. Orig. cloth. Gilt a bit dull on spine with trace of wear at head. Close to fine. $125.00 Joseph Blau (in EP) called Hickok "America's first systematic philosopher" and "the first professor of philosophy in the United States to attempt to make systematic use of Kant and the post-Kantian German rationalists." The present work was known to the budding cosmologist, and avid Kantian, Charles Sanders Peirce: it appears on manuscript lists which the young Peirce made of his own, and of the Peirce family, libraries in 1858 and 1860 (Robin 1555-1555a). Hickok's later works are somewhat less common than the earlier "psychologies" and the work on ethics, which, assuming somewhat the status of standard texts, were frequently reprinted. A revised edition of the present work did appear in 1859 and was reprinted in 1861.

HICKOK, L.P. Creator and Creation: Or, the Knowledge in the Reason of God and His Work. Boston: Lee & Shepard, 1872. 1st ed. 8vo. 360 pp. Orig. cloth, light fading and shelfwear, spine ends rubbed and worn. With an Iowa owner's signature, dated 1876, on front flyleaf. $50.00

JOHNSON, A.B. A Treatise on Language. Edited, with a Critical Essay on His Philosophy of Language, by David Rynin. Berkeley & Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1947. ix, [1], 443 pp. Index. Frontis. portrait. Orig. cloth. $100.00 Max Black's copy, with his signature on front flyleaf and with pencil scoring and brief notes throughout. Black contributed "Johnson's Language Theories in Modern Perspective" to the centennial conference on Johnson held in Utica, 1967 (published in Language & Value, 1968). Black is undoubtedly the most distinguished philosopher of language to publish on Johnson. His paper, while respectful, is highly critical and, ultimately, condescending; as with many analytical philosophers the historical context of Johnson's work is irrelevant.

(ROYCE.) McTAGGART, JOHN McTAGGART ELLIS. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic. Cambridge: At the University Press, 1896. 1st ed. 8vo. xvi, 259 pp. Orig. cloth, slightly bubbled, minor wear to spine ends. Text lightly browned at edges. About very good.  SOLD  McTaggart's uncommon first book, this copy from the library of Josiah Royce, signed on the front flyleaf, "J. Royce/April 1900." A fine association, linking an important British Idealist with a preeminent American colleague, acquired by Royce shortly after his return from Britain (in February 1900) following delivery of the second series of Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen. Those lectures were published as The World and the Individual (2 vols. 1900-1901), both volumes of which were reviewed by McTaggart in Mind.

WILBUR, H.B. Materialism in Its Relations to the Causes, Conditions, and Treatment of Insanity. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1872. 1st separate ed. 8vo. 35 pp. Orig. printed wraps. Old stamp of Medical Society, Kings County (N.Y.) on front wrap, repeated on title, with old shelf label inside of front wrap. Withal, a very good copy. Signature on one John G. Wilbur on front wrap. $65.00 H.B. Wilbur (1820-1883), following the theories of Seguin, was a pioneer in the treatment of the mentally retarded, establishing the first institution in the United States (in Barre, Mass.) for their education (see DAB). The present piece is principally a response to an article by John P. Gray, "The Dependence of Insanity on Physical Disease": "Wilbur claimed that insanity was a disease of the immaterial mind and that discrete psychic disturbances, caused by moral forces, might themselves produce structural brain damage. He felt that such physiological change was not invariably present and that insanity in fact was a 'functional disorder.'"--Caplan, Psychiatry & Community in 19th Century America. This article and the one by Gray first appeared in The American Journal of Insanity.


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