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Edinburgh: Printed for William Creech and T Cadell, and W. Davies, 1797.
First edition. Original gray paper covered boards, white paper spine. Excessively rare first edition of of the first and most elaborate treatise aimed at exposing the excesses and scandals of Free Masons, especially laying claim to the workings of the Illuminati, the most feared of all secret societies in the 18th Century. John Robison (1739-1805) was a noted Scottish physicist and mathematician and professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh who in his later years became enamored with promulgating various worldwide conspiracy theories. This work, his chief 'scholarly' output was purported to stem from valid research though chiefly from the testimonies of one man, a 'secret monk' whose name was Alexander Horn. The work was extremely popular and went through many editions including a stated Second Edition in the same year, Third and Fourth Editions in 1798, etc. It was translated into French, German and other editions appeared through 1803. Robison personally contacted Benjamin Franklin in America to challenge him with the book, and Franklin gave a lengthy written response, in short saying that while Doctrines of the Illuminati had no doubt spread in the United States, that he did not believe the Lodges of the Free Masons "in THIS country had, as Societies, endeavored to propagate the diabolical tenets of the Illuminati." 496 pages. Tope edges shaved, others uncut. All leaves including endsheets original. Includes original three preliminary pages, 1) "To the Right Honorable William Wyndham," 2) poem by Lucretius and 3) Corrections as well as introduction pp. 1-17. Printed on laid paper. A most important and exceedingly scarce survival, a completely unsophisticated copy. Spine has lost all paper, corners bumped, covers soiled; internally clean and bright.
Price: $2,250.00 Item #2323