An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, in Opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism. The Fifth Edition Corrected.

  • Beattie, James
  • London: Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly 1774
  • ESTC T144352.


SKU: 4416 Category: Tag:


THICK PAPER COPY, 8vo, pp. 6, [1], 10-518, [2, errata]. Contemporary red morocco, boards bordered with a gilt roll within a gilt rule, spine divided by raised bands between gilt rules, second compartment gilt-lettered direct, marbled endpapers, edges gilt. Rubbed, spine a bit faded, a few marks and scratches. Ownership inscription of George Glennie to binder’s blank, with tipped-in slip inscribed ‘Margaret Forbes… bought at sale, 15th & 16th Nov. 1881’; one erratum added to the errata list in a contemporary hand.


A significant copy of the fifth edition (a close reprint of the fourth, adding the errata list) of Beattie's first and most important philosophical work. Clearly printed on special extra-thick paper - the volume is nearly twice the width of a normal copy - it may have originated in Beattie's own library, and the erratum added in manuscript is very plausibly in his hand. The earliest definite provenance is the ownership inscription of Dr George Glennie (1768-1845), Beattie's assistant, successor as professor of moral philosophy at Marischal College, and nephew-in-law.
Beattie's children pre-deceasing him, his books passed to his niece Margaret Valentine, Glennie's wife; their youngest daughter Margaret died in 1881 at which point a portion of the family library went to auction in Aberdeen - advertised as 'Forming Part of the Library of the Late Rev. Dr. Glennie, Marischal College; and Including Many of the Books of the Late Dr. Beattie'. From that sale this volume was purchased by one Margaret Forbes.
This was the final stand-alone edition of Beattie's seminal essay that he published as such: he next prepared the collected 'Essays', and the subsequent 'sixth edition' of 'Truth' is simply spare sheets from the first volume of that collection reissued with a cancel title-page.

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