HAMILTON, Elizabeth. Memoirs of Modern Philosophers. 4th edn. 3 vols. Bath: Printed by R. Cruttwell and sold by G. & J. Robinson, London. 1804
Contemp. full speckled calf, gilt borders, spines ruled & with devices in gilt, red morocco labels, small vol. number labels in black morocco. Contemp. owner's inscription on title vol. I. v.g.
¶See Loeber H117 for the first edition of 1800. Hamilton's satire targets the the new philosophy of the late 18th Century, and particularly the clamour for social reorganisation that was enflamed by the revolutionary events in France. William Godwin's works Political Justice (1793) and The Enquirer (1797) provide a poltical ideology for several of Hamilton's characters, who take inspiration from his enthusiastic espousal of social liberality and self-determination. However, according to Hamilton, this alignment with modern philosophical trends does not bring increased fulfillment or contentment, and leads only to moral decline and human tragedy. The author provides an alternative path to happiness and contentment, one not founded on lofty political ideals, but the age-old principles of obedience, dependability, prudence, and piety.