Edinburgh: For Archibald Constable and Company, 1817. First edition. Large folding table; numerous mathematical diagrams in text, showing methods of calculation, utilizing various number bases. Two gatherings foxed. Armorial binding. A very handsome copy. Contemporary full tan polished calf. In an armorial binding with a gilt insignia of a crown, an arm with an arrow, the the quotation from Horace, “Non eget arcu” on both covers, with the initials “AA.” Gilt spine with green morocco label. Octavo. iv, 240 pp. Item #7917
Sir John Leslie (1766-1832) was a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, where he had himself studied under Dugald Stewart. He is best known for An Experimental Inquiry into the Nature and Propagation of Heat (1804), which established several fundamental laws of heat radiation and played a major role in the early nineteenth-century argument about whether heat was a form of matter or a mode of motion, though the Philosophy of Arithmetic one of “his most important books” (Richard G. Olson, writing in the D.S.B). He was a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Edinburgh Review. Augustus De Morgan considered Leslie one of the few writers on the history of mathematics who attempted to show the progress of arithmetical writings as works of science.