Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2014 Issue

Economics, Politics, and Philosophy from Peter Harrington

86291709-2ea5-43a7-b669-e77c49d9b84b

Economics, Politics, & Philosophy.

Peter Harrington of London has issued a catalogue of Economics, Politics, & Philosophy. Those can be strange bedfellows. Economics, and those with economic clout, do have an inordinate influence on politics. Perhaps, philosophy can can encourage them to act more from moral concerns for the common good. As a collector, you need not mix these topics unless you so choose. Pick your favorite. Here are a few examples of what is to be found in this catalogue.

 

We start with a work that covers the border between economics and politics: The State of the Poor; or, An History of the Labouring Classes in England, from the Conquest to the Present Period... published in 1797. The author, Sir Frederick Eden, was very well-off himself, both as inheritor and businessman. However, at the time of the English grain shortage of the mid 1790's, he became both curious and concerned about how poor people were coping with the situation. He conducted an extensive survey, both by himself and others, as well as questioning people such as clergymen who had close contact with poor people. It led to this extensive study of the living standards of the laboring class, backed by statistical as well as anecdotal data. Eden was hopeful that a better understanding of the causes and conditions of poverty would lead to improvement in the living conditions of the working class. Item 48. Priced at £10,000 (British pounds, or roughly $16,080 U.S. dollars).

 

This next work covers politics and philosophy, political philosophy if you will, and throws in some economics too. John Stuart Mill was a philosopher, a proponent of utilitarianism, a belief that essentially looks at good, not as some ethereal concept, but as what does the most beneficial things for the most people. However, this was not some collectivist vision, as Mill also firmly believed in the independent rights of the individual. So, for example, government should leave you alone as much as possible, but needs to intervene when the public good so demands. People should be able to choose their leaders (a novel concept in much of the 19th century world), but individuals needed to be protected from the tyranny of the majority. Mill was a strong advocate of free speech, another novel concept at the time, believing the free flow of ideas, even bad ones, led to greater consideration and ultimately the selection of the best ones. He also favored other unusual freedoms of the time such as woman's suffrage. His ideas are expounded upon in Mill's 1859 classic, On Liberty. Item 151. £4,500 (US $7,237).

 

A. J. Ayer was one of the leading philosophers of the 20th century movement known as logical positivism. There is more to this than can be explained in a paragraph, but its central point is the verifiability theory of meaning. Essentially, it says that if a claim cannot be verified, or shown to be wrong, by empirical evidence, it is not merely an unknown. Rather, it is meaningless. That doesn't mean that something for which we don't presently have sufficient evidence to verify is meaningless, but when it comes to metaphysical types of claims that can never be verified through observation, then that claim has no meaning. Ayer described his view in 1940 in The Foundations of Knowledge. Item 1 is a copy of that book, but provides a lighter break from his deeply meaningful (presuming, of course, it is verifiable) treatise with this inscription, “To Aunt Clara with the author's love, Freddie.” The weighty philosopher went by the nickname of “Freddie.” £1,250 (US $2,013).

 

Item 139 marked the beginning of a marriage, not exactly made in heaven. They didn't believe in the place. It is a collection of writings published in 1844, Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbucher... edited by Karl Marx and Arnold Ruge. The two it brought together was Marx and Friedrich Engels. Those names would be spoken together through most of the 20th century throughout the Communist world, though it is doubtful that alternate universe was quite what they anticipated. It includes the writings of many others, but it was Engels' essay that impressed Marx and began a friendship and cooperation that would last for their lifetime and have an enormous impact on the twentieth century. £22,500 (US $36,212).

 

The next book added a healthy dose of realism to an already depressing reality when first released in 1798: An Essay on the Principal of Population. Item 126 is the 1803 greatly expanded quarto second edition. Malthus came to the unpleasant conclusion that population grows faster than the food supply, leading to the misery needed to regularly bring them back in balance. Hunger, disease, and war were an inevitable restraint on man's overpopulating the world. This second edition was slightly more hopeful, as Malthus raised the hope that humans could reduce the population by being more virtuous, that is, no sex before marriage and delaying of marriage. However, he admitted this would not be easy to accomplish. What Malthus did not believe was that agriculture would ever be able to increase production as fast as the population grew. £1,250 (US $2,013).

 

Peter Harrington may be reached at +44 (0)20 7591 0220 or orders@peterharrington.co.uk. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Copper Printing Plate for "Marshall's Household Engraving of Washington." $500 to $1000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Important Documentary Painting Showing Baseball Great Ty Cobb in Cuba. $1,000 to $2,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> <i>Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age</i>, Inscribed by Bill Wilson. $500 to $1,000
    <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), <i>Prise à l'hameçon.</i> $3,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Maurice Dufrène (French, 1876-1955), <i>Rayon des Soieries</i>. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> William Pope.L (American, b. 1955), <i>Intimacy Project</i>. $2,000 to $4,000
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
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    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

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