The Philosophical Works of the late Right Honorable Henry St John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke, in Five Volumes
London, David Mallet, 1754 (first collected octavo edition).
Octavo, five volumes; early full polished calf with gilt morocco title-labels on the spines; joints starting to crack, but all of them are very firm; endpapers lightly tanned around the edges by the leather; trifling signs of use and age; an excellent set.
Each volume contains the armorial bookplate of A.R. Downer, Sir Alexander 'Alick' Russell Downer (1910-1981), politician and diplomat. He was the Minister for Immigration under Menzies from 1958, and the Australian High Commissioner in London from 1963 to 1972. Henry St John, '1st Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751) was an English politician, government official and political philosopher. He was a leader of the Tories, and supported the Church of England politically despite his anti-religious views and opposition to theology. In 1715 he supported the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 which sought to overthrow the new king George I. Escaping to France he became foreign minister for the Pretender. He was attainted for treason, but reversed course and was allowed to return to England in 1723. He is best known as the philosopher of the Country Party' (Wikipedia). The 'Dictionary of National Biography' bears all this out, and more, and has this to say about his works: 'Bolingbroke's philosophical works were published after the deist controversy in England had lost much of its novelty.... [His] works excited only a momentary attention, and are too fragmentary and discursive to be of much value.... Finally, in 1754, Mallet published the collected works ... which add 'Substance of some Letters written originally in French about 1720, to M. de Pouilly'; 'A Letter occasioned by one of Archbishop Tillotson's Sermons'; '[Four] Essays addressed to Alexander Pope'; 'Fragments or Minutes of Essays' ... which, according to Mallet, were sent to Pope as written. This edition was the gun charged against Christianity of Dr. Johnson's famous comment'.