Nov 17, 2016 - Sale 2432

Sale 2432 - Lot 266

Price Realized: $ 3,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
(PHILOSOPHY.) Franck, Richard. A Philosophical Treatise of the Original and Production of Things, Writ in America in a Time of Solitudes. [26], 170 pages. 8vo, contemporary calf, minor wear; front free endpaper coming detached, lacking rear free endpaper, minimal dampstaining; early owners' inscriptions on endpapers. London: John Gain, 1687

Additional Details

Richard Franck (circa 1624-1708) was a captain in Cromwell's army who lived in New England for several years. This was the first of his three books to be published. It could be considered the first work of philosophy written in North America, decades before Bishop Berkeley arrived in Newport, RI. It might also be considered a theological work, as it relies heavily on Biblical authority, and much of the work theorizes on natural history. He discusses America in two passages, noting on page 75 that "the Americans can tell you that Trees grew naturally where the Native Indians never had a being," and referencing a fish called "the American Snite" on page 112. The running title throughout the book is "Rabbi Moses." Ford, in "Boston Book Market, 1679-1700" (page 31), suggests that the otherwise obscure John Gain, credited as the book's printer, may have actually been a pseudonym for important early American printer Benjamin Harris. See also Goodspeed, "Richard Franck," in Bookmen's Holiday: Notes and Studies Written and Gathered in Tribute to Harry Miller Lydenberg, pages 152 and 173-5. "A very scarce and singular work"--Sabin 25467. European Americana 687/65; JCB 1675-1700 page 175. The first copy we have traced in an American auction since a copy brought $260 in 1921, though a handful have appeared in England.