"THE MOST WORTHY… OF THE GREAT PHILOSOPHERS": BEAUTIFUL 1768 EDITION OF LOCKE'S COLLECTED WORKS, THE FIRST FOUR-VOLUME, FIRST QUARTO EDITION, HANDSOMELY BOUND IN CONTEMPORARY CALF GILT
LOCKE, John. The Works of John Locke. London: H. Woodfall, et al., 1768. Four volumes. Large quarto (9-1/2 by 12 inches), contemporary full polished brown calf rebacked with original elaborately gilt-decorated spines laid down, raised bands, black and red morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers.
Seventh edition, the first quarto edition, first four-volume edition, of Locke's collected Works, with copper-engraved frontispiece portrait (I), a handsome set in beautiful contemporary calf gilt.
"Locke had a formative influence on the principles of the Declaration of Independence and of the early state constitutions" (Covenanted People 37). Jefferson, who had a fifth edition of the Works in his library, "ranked Locke with Bacon and Newton as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception" (Sowerby 1362; emphasis in original). This massive first quarto edition contains the immensely important Two Treatises of Government, "the basis of the principles of democracy," as well as Locke's letters on Toleration and The Reasonableness of Christianity. Also included is the groundbreaking Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, "the first modern attempt" to analyze human knowledge (PMM 193, 194). "John Locke is the most worthy… of the indisputably great philosophers. His influence has been enormous." In his famous tribute, Voltaire observed, "Many a philosopher has written the tale of the soul's adventures, but now a sage has appeared who has, more modestly, written its history. Locke has developed human reason before men, as an excellent anatomist unfolds the mechanism of the human body. Aided everywhere by the torch of physics, he dares at times to affirm, but he also dares to doubt. Instead of collecting in one sweeping definition what we do not know, he explores by degrees what we desire to know" (Seymour-Smith, 242, 245). Stated "Seventh Edition": second issue with title pages reading "Volume the First" ("Second," "Third," "Fourth") instead of "Volume I" ("II," "III," "IV"), among other minor changes. Volume I with copper-engraved portrait of Locke after Kneller, by Cipriani and Basire. Occasional mispagination as issued without loss of text. "The first collected edition bears the publication date of 1714" (Yolton, 400). Attig 854. Yolton 369. ESTC T114397. See Sowerby 4918. Armorial bookplates of Matthew Lewis, Esq. with owner signatures; small shelf mark to preliminary blanks. Modern armorial bookplates of C. Panshanger.
Interior fresh with only lightest foxing mainly to preliminaries, expert repairs to joints, spine ends and corners of contemporary calf-gilt bindings.