A Fragment on Mackintosh: being strictures on some passages in the dissertation by Sir James Mackintosh, prefixed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
London, Baldwin & Cradock 1835
Octavo, original boards rebacked in calf, spine lettered in gilt, corners worn, leaf edges uncut, pp.vi, (2), 431, (1), ownership inscription of W R Sorley, (1855-1935), professor of moral philosophy at Cambridge University.
Rare first edition of James Mill’s last book. Published a year before James Mill’s death A Fragment on Mackintosh is a severe exposure of the flimsiness and misrepresentations of Sir James Mackintosh’s famous Dissertation on the Progress of Ethical Philosophy 1830 and discusses the foundations of ethics from the author’s utilitarian point of view. John Stuart Mill was to write about his father’s work in his Autobiography “His ‘Fragment on Mackintosh’ which he wrote and published about this time, although I greatly admired some parts of it, I read as a whole with more pain than pleasure; yet on reading it again, long after, I found little in the opinions it contains, but what I think in the main just; and I can even sympathize in his disgust at the verbiage of Mackintosh though his asperity towards it went beyond not only what was judicious, but beyond what was even fair.” J.S.Mill, Autobiography 5th ed., pp.201-202.