London: W. and J. Richardson for John Murray, 1773. Second edition, enlarged, of an important sociological and anthropological study by John Millar (1735-1801), Professor of Law at the University of Glasgow and friend of Hume, Adam Smith and other members of the Scottish enlightenment. The first edition, in quarto format, appeeared two years earlier. One inch split along front joint near head of spine. Offsetting to first and last couple of leaves from binding. Overall a very good, clean copy. Contemporary polished calf. Gilt-ruled spine with red morocco label. Octavo. , xxii, 312 pp. Item #16775
The present work “contains a number of ingenious, progressive and penetrating ideas. It begins with the history of the station of women. Millar was by no means a primitivist, but he points out the equal and qualified station of women in primitive societies, thus making him a precursor of Bachofen. The advancement of civilization or the progress of labour and wealth, had formerly served to reduce the station of women, but since feudal times the progress of commerce had served to raise women once again; now, he notes, women seem sometimes to have become degenerate, thanks to wealth. He finds the same trend in the station of children. Millar supported the abolition of slavery and servile labour, which commercial society could now afford to eliminate, and showed a special interest in the improvement of working conditions for the salters and colliers in Scotland. He supported American independence and the liberty of France…He was not so much a democrat as an apostle of the liberation of the oppressed” (Hideo Tanaka in Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century British Philosophers).
“This book shows the influence of Montesquieu, and especially of Hume, whose essy on ‘The Populousness of Ancient Nations’ is similar in design” (Chuo 161, listing a later edition.) Kress 6952.