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London: M'Creery, 1816. Gathered signatures, stitched. Old tape expertly removed from titlepage, including over the presentation inscription, but leaving only a slight discoloration; reinforced with Japan tissue on verso. Light tanning and foxing. Very good. Untrimmed. In a red cloth chemise and slipcase. A presentation copy, inscribed by Jeremy Bentham to James Madison on the titlepage. Bentham (1748-1832) was a British utilitarian philosopher, social reformer, and writer on jurisprudence. During James Madison's presidency he corresponded with Madison on a proposal to create a written, codified, statute law for the United States. Madison, busy with the War of 1812 and other matters of state, took several years to respond to Bentham, but the correspondence forged a relationship between the two men. That relationship also involved John Quincy Adams, who went to London to negotiate the Treaty of Ghent and stayed on as the American minister to England, and who conveyed Bentham's proposal to Madison's and Madison's ultimate response. The DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY records that when Adams left London to return to the United States to take up his duties as Secretary of State he met with Bentham, who gave him copies of several of his works, including CHRESTOMATHIA, to distribute to leaders in America. It seems likely that this copy of the book, presented to James Madison by Jeremy Bentham, was delivered to Madison by John Quincy Adams. This is the first printing of the second part only of Bentham's important treatise on educational reform, proposing a new type of school for middle class children that excluded religion in favor of "useful" subjects such as science, economics, mathematics, and law. Separately issued, with its own titlepage, it is usually found with a publication date of 1817, not the 1816 date found on this copy (perhaps indicating copies that Bentham received early for private distribution). James Madison had an extensive library, reputed to be almost as large as that of his friend and ally Jefferson. However, he seldom marked his ownership in books as Jefferson did, and his library seems to have been scattered after his death by his debt-ridden spouse. It is far harder today to identify books which belonged to him, and they are far rarer in the market than volumes which belonged to Jefferson's third library, which was dispersed after his death (the second library, of course, went to the Library of Congress). A wonderful association of two major political thinkers, and a rare book from Madison's library.
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2015-11-16           Check availability:      Biblio    


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