Here we have an extremely rare first edition by Thomas Cooper: "Tracts, Ethical, Theological And Political" published in 1787! This is Cooper's first published book! Warrington, Printed by W. Eyers, For J. Johnson, N 72, St. Paul's Church-Yard, London, 1787. THIS BOOK WAS ONLY REPUBLISHED IN 2000 AND 2004 AND NEW ONES SELL UPWARDS OF $800.00
Thomas Cooper (October 22, 1759 – May 11, 1839) was an
Anglo-American economist, college president and political philosopher as well as close personal friend of Thomas Jefferson and a major influence on the French and American Revolutions.
Cooper was described by Thomas Jefferson as "one of the ablest men in America" and by John Adams as "a learned ingenious scientific and talented madcap." Dumas Malone
stated that "modern scientific progress would have been impossible
without the freedom of the mind which he championed throughout life."
His ideas were taken very seriously in his own time: there were
substantial reviews of his writings, and some late eighteenth-century
critics of materialism directed their arguments against Cooper, rather than against the better-known Joseph Priestley. There can be no doubt that Cooper played an important role in
the increasingly influential materialist movements of the late
eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. As Cooper’s writings
are now extremely scarce, this edition brings together several
of his philosophical works, including writings on metaphysics
and ethics, and on related religious, political and legal issues.
extremely rare first edition of Cooper's "Tracts, Ethical,
Theological and Political" is a sturdy, finely bound tome with years and
years of character. The newer binding does not detract from the overall condition of this gem in any way; rather, it increases it! The book contains its gorgeous, original front
and back leather cover with clean, crisp pages with an absolutely
stunning marbling effect around the edges. This book has to be one of
the best in existence. Note that this is a withdrawn library book with markings on inside cover and first pages. This
is an amazing collectors piece, dating back over 225 years, from when
America was only 11 years old AND THE ONLY ONE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN THE
WORLD! This is an absolute scarce, hard to come by, rarity in Very Good+ condition.
The following is an exert from a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Cooper about his writings as well as further information about Tracts:
To Dr. Thomas Cooper.
From Thomas Jefferson.
Monticello, January 16, 1814.
"DEAR SIR,—Your favor of November 8th, if it was rightly dated, did
not come to hand till December 13th, and being absent on a long journey,
it has remained unanswered till now. The copy of your introductory
lecture was received and acknowledged in my letter of July 12, 1812,
with which I sent you Tracy’s first volume on Logic. Your Justinian
came safely also, and I have been constantly meaning to acknowledge it,
but I wished, at the same time, to say something more. I possessed
Theopilus’, Vinnius’ and Harris’ editions, but read over your notes and
the addenda et corrigenda, and especially the parallels with the
English law, with great satisfaction and edification. Your edition will
be very useful to our lawyers, some of whom will need the translation
as well as the notes...
...Everything predicted by the enemies of banks, in the beginning, is now
coming to pass. We are to be ruined now by the deluge of bank paper, as
we were formerly by the old Continental paper. It is cruel that such
revolutions in private fortunes should be at the mercy of avaricious
adventurers, who, instead of employing their capital, if any they have,
in manufactures, commerce, and other useful pursuits, make it an
instrument to burden all the interchanges of property with their
swindling profits, profits which are the price of no useful industry of
theirs. Prudent men must be on their guard in this game of Robin’s alives, and take care that the spark does not extinguish in their hands. I am an enemy to all banks discounting bills or notes for anything but coin.
But our whole country is so fascinated by this Jack-lantern wealth,
that they will not stop short of its total and fatal explosion."
"In 1787 Cooper published his first book which is also his main
philosophical work, entitled Tracts, Ethical, Theological and
Political.16 Some of the ‘tracts’ are revised versions
of talks he had presented to the Manchester Society (for example,
‘On Moral Obligation’ and ‘Sketch of the Controversy on Materialism’).
Apart from essays dealing with the foundation of morality, materialism,
determinism, and a ‘Summary of Unitarian Arguments’, the book
contains a 160-page essay ‘On Identity’ – possibly the most extensive
eighteenth-century treatment of the topic. Cooper dedicated Tracts
to Jackson Barwis who appears to have been his teacher at some
stage, for he refers to ‘the knowledge I derived from your instructions’
(Tracts, p. vi). Indeed Barwis was himself an author of
philosophical tracts, arguing against Locke for the existence
of innate moral principles.17 Cooper anticipates, rightly,
that Barwis would probably disagree with his own views on such
topics. Both the title-page and the preface suggest that Cooper
intended to publish a second volume of Tracts, with papers
that have an ‘immediate application’ and are less ‘speculative
and abstruse’ in content than the ones in the first volume (Tracts,
p. ix). But although he had prepared the second volume, it was
never published, partly it seems because he was too busy campaigning
against the slave trade (Tracts, p. viii). Still, Cooper
was to publish numerous pamphlets and books with the desired ‘immediate
The last piece in Tracts, which deals with Unitarian
arguments, has at least an indirect application to another political
debate in which Cooper played a major role, the debate about the
repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts (1789). In Tracts
he attempted to present ‘a regular deduction’ of all the ‘contradictions
in the Trinitarian hypothesis’ (p. 465). In politics Cooper fought
for the removal of all restrictions for Unitarians. His presiding
over a meeting of Protestant Dissenters at Warrington led to his
first public exchange with Edmund Burke.18 He next
joined the movement for parliamentary reform and became a very
active member of the Manchester Constitutional Society (Malone,
pp. 27–8). As early as 1787 Cooper had argued in a talk for the
Literary and Philosophical Society that the right of exercising
political power is derived solely from the people.19
It is not surprising, then, that Cooper embraced the French Revolution
enthusiastically. His friend Priestley had similar views. Cooper
had first met him in 1781 (Kelley, p. 11), but they seem not to
have become close until the late 1780s. When, in 1791, Priestley’s
views about the French Revolution had led to the destruction of
his church and personal property by rioters in Birmingham, the
Manchester Constitutional Society sent a tribute of sympathy to
Priestley. When the Literary and Philosophical Society failed
to do the same, Cooper resigned his membership in a huff (Malone,
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