The Christian Philosopher: A Collection of the Best Discoveries in Nature, with Religious Improvements.


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First Edition of Cotton Mather's The Christian Philosopher, London, 1721

MATHER, COTTON. The Christian Philosopher: A Collection of the Best Discoveries in Nature, with Religious Improvements. By Cotton Mather D.D. And Fellow of the Royal Society. [printer's device] London; Printed for Eman. Matthews, at the Bible in Pater-Noster-Row. M.DCC.XXI. [1721] Octavo, 13 x 21.2 x 3cm. $3,200.00

Cotton Mather (1662/63-1727/28) Puritan clergyman, scholar and author, he was the eldest son of Increase Mather. "Cotton Mather was the most influential writer of his generation in America. He brought the puritan period of New England history to an end and started towards the evangelical pietism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His vision of Christian religion flying to America inspired nineteenth-century writers on America's manifest destiny..." Re his work with natural science: "Many of Mather's letters to England were about the natural sciences. In 1712 he sent the first of several accounts of unusual natural phenomena to John Woodward, a prominent English geologist. He followed up with letters addressed to John Waller, secretary of the Royal Society, with the hope that they be published in the society's Philosophical Transactions. From 1712 to 1724 Mather sent a total of eighty-two such letters, known collectively as `Curiosa Americana'. Many were printed in the Transactions. Mather made no secret of his wish to be included among the circle that made up the Royal Society, and was elated when news came of his election to the fellowship in 1713. Thereafter with great pride he put FRS after his name. In 1714 he sent to London a large manuscript epitomizing the science of the day that was published in 1721 as The Christian Philosopher. The chapter on astronomy, according to a modern historian, is `The finest example of how Newtonian Science came to America and was disseminated' (Theodore Hornberger in Holmes, 1.137).--quotes from: Michael G. Hall, `Mather, Cotton (1663-1728)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2013 [, accessed 18 May 2016].

Bound full calf Cambridge paneled style binding with darkened center panel, slight raised bands, rubbed & scuffed, leather splitting along front hinge but hinge still holding well, corners bumped and starting to wear through, surface worm track on rear cover, medium to heavy foxing with some lighter pages, scattered dampstains throughout, marginal only silverfish damage outside edge of pp 119-132.

Collation: A4, B-U8. Pagination: (1) title, (1) blank, [iii]-vi Dedication by Tho. Bradbury, (1) An Index (i.e., contents), (1) publisher's ad, 1-304pp. Holmes: Cotton Mather 52-A. Sabin #46253.

Provenance: written at head of title: Theophili Pickering Libr. Maii 15. 1724." Written on recto of front flyleaf: "Nehm. Porter's 1759" then in different ink: "Price 25.s, then below in different hand: "This Book I give to my Son Nehemiah Porter, 1811." This is possibly Nehemiah Porter (1720-1820) Congregational clergyman, graduated of Harvard 1745, minister in Ipswich & Ashfield, Mass. and in between these Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, had a son Nehemiah born 1754 who likely was alive in 1811. Bookseller's tag on lower inside corner of rear paste-down endpaper: "This Book was Supplied by H. Seward, Bookseller Utica, New York, U.S.A., World Wide Out-of-Print Bookhunters Submit Your Wants! Printed in England."

Title: The Christian Philosopher: A Collection of the Best Discoveries in Nature, with Religious Improvements.

Author Name: MATHER, COTTON.

Illustrator: London


Edition: First Edition

Publisher: 1721

Type: Book

Size: Octavo, 13 x 21.2 x 3cm

Book Number: 17901

Keywords: 18th Century Books, Natural Science, Theology, American Church History, Leather Bindings, Congregational Churches, Americana, Science & the Bible, Science & Religion, Natural History