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[FRANKLIN, Benjamin, printer (1706-1790)]. CICERO, Marcus Tullius (106-43 B.C.). M.T. Cicero's Cato Major, or his Discourse of Old-Age: with explanatory notes. Translated by James Logan (1674-1751). Philadelphia: printed and sold by Benjamin Franklin, 1744.
4o (193 x 124 mm). Title-page printed in red and black. (Gutter margin of title-page reinforced, tiny rusthole in T4.) Contemporary calf (rebacked, corners repaired); quarter morocco slipcase. Provenance: "S.B. 1790" (inscription twice on front free endpaper); John Eden (signed twice on front free endpaper); William H. Heywood, 1790 (ownership inscription on front free endpaper and signature on title-page).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST STATE (with "ony" on page 27), printed on Genoese paper (three circles watermark). Generally recognized as Franklin's typographic masterpiece, the Cato Major was translated by his friend, the American scientist, statesman and bibliophile, James Logan (1674-1751). It was at the insistance of Franklin that Logan agreed to publish the translation which he had prepared some ten years earlier. In the Printer's note to the reader Franklin writes of Logan's translation: "I believed it to be in itself equal at least, if not far preferable to any other Translation of the same Piece extant in our Language, besides the Advantage it has of so many valuable Notes, which at the same time they clear up the Text, are highly instructive and entertaining; I resolved to give it an Impression." With the exception of the almanacs, Cato Major is the best known work from Franklin's press. FINE COPY. Church 949; Evans 5361; Miller 347; Sabin 13040; Norman 484.
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