• Fine Printed Books and Manuscr auction at Christies

    Sale 2227

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    4 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 190

    ALLEN, Ethan (1738-1789). Reason, the Only Oracle of Man. Bennington, Vermont: Haswell & Russell, 1784. 8o (numerous closed tears in [A]-C gatherings; paper loss along edge of D1; closed tear at Ccc3; Contemporary calf (worn, upper cover detaching; portions of leather chipped away).

    Price Realised  

    ALLEN, Ethan (1738-1789). Reason, the Only Oracle of Man. Bennington, Vermont: Haswell & Russell, 1784. 8o (numerous closed tears in [A]-C gatherings; paper loss along edge of D1; closed tear at Ccc3; Contemporary calf (worn, upper cover detaching; portions of leather chipped away).

    "I EXPECT THAT THE CLERGY, AND THEIR DEVOTEES, WILL PROCLAIM WAR WITH ME....BUT I AM A HARDY MOUNTAINNEAR"

    FIRST EDITION. Sabin calls this "singular book...the rarest of Allen's publications." It "is remarkable as being the first work published in America in direct opposition to the Christian religion..." Allen told a friend in 1785, "I Expect that the Clergy, and their devotees, will proclaim war with me, in the name of the Lord, his Battles they affect to fight... But I am a hardy Mountainnear, and have been accustomed to the ravages, and horrors of War, and Captivity, and Scorn to be intimidated by threats, if they fright me, they must produce some of their tremendous fire, and give me a sensitive scorching." There was a tremendous fire--in the publisher's shop--destroying most of the 1,500 copies printed. Mr. Haswell reportedly took the fire as a sign of divine disfavor and committed the remainder of the run to the flames, soon thereafter converting to Methodism. Scarcely any copies have survived. EXTREMELY RARE. Only two copies have appeared at auction in the last 30 years. Church 1201; Evans 18322; Sabin 802.


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