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ALCIPHRON OR THE MINUTE PHILOSOPHER IN SEVEN DIALOGUES
New Haven: Increase Cooke & Co, 1803. First American Edition from the Fourth London Edition. Hardcover. The First American Philosophical Work,Owned in 1805 at Yale by a Subsequently Noted MD. 213 x 130 mm (8 3/8 x 5 1/8"). xiii, [i], 15-388 pp. (Without the leaf of ads at the end). First American Edition from the Fourth London Edition. An original American binding of sheepskin, flat spine divided into panels by gilt rules, original red morocco label. Front free endpaper and title page with ink ownership inscription of "William Tully . . . Yale College 1805" (see below). Jessop 16h. Front joint cracked (with just a slight give to the board), leather at corners worn through, covers with a handful of short scratches and a bit of minor soiling, faint offsetting throughout the text, but an excellent example of an early American sheep binding, completely unsophisticated, the text fresh and clean, and generally in a very much finer state of preservation than is typical of such volumes from this period. This is an excellent unsophisticated copy in its original American binding--with particularly interesting provenance--of the first printing in America of the first major work of philosophy written on American soil (even if by an Englishman). Written during a restful sojourn in Newport, Rhode Island, and first published by Berkeley (1685-1753) in 1732, the work has as its chief aim the defense of religion, especially the established Church of England, against the attacks and objections of atheists and "free-thinkers," nicknamed "minute philosophers." ("Alciphron" is the name of the chief exponent of "free-thinking" in the dialogues.) The book takes the form of seven colloquies, examining, in turn, the nature of the "free-thinkers," the heart of their charges against the established church, the nature of morality, arguments pertaining to the existence of God, contemporary Christian practice, the usefulness of scripture, and the apparent contradiction between faith and reason. Keynes tells us, "Luce places Alciphron with Joseph Butler's 'Analogy,' 1736, as the only comparable book on Christian apologetics in the eighteenth century." Our volume has three important connections with Yale. Timothy Dwight, author of the foreword, was the grandson of Jonathan Edwards and the former holder of the scholarship Berkeley established at Yale. More important, our former owner, William Tully (1785-1859) graduated from Yale College in 1806 and later taught there. Tully studied medicine with a local preceptor, entered Dartmouth Medical College in 1808, and two years later received a license to practice from the Connecticut Medical Society. His research and writings on plant-based sources of medication led to his appointment as professor of materia medica (pharmacology) and therapeutics at both the Vermont Medical Academy and Yale, a demanding position which he satisified by alternating terms between the two schools. Tully was brilliant but had a difficult personality, as reflected in his eventual resignation from Yale in 1842 after student complaints about his teaching (which had devolved to the point where he simply read aloud from a textbook). This dismissal allowed him to return to the research he preferred, and he published a 1,500-page compendium on pharmocology entitled "Materia Medica" in 1857-58, a significant contribution to the field. ANB says that "Tully contributed to the advance of American medicine in two ways. He helped to train hundreds of young physicians by increasing their awareness of the medicinal value of plants and herbs. He also contributed to the eventual discontinuation of bloodletting and calomel as standard medical practice.".
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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