Loose Remarks on Certain Positions to be Found in Mr. Hobbes’ Philosophical Rudiments of Government and Society with a Short Sketch of a Democratical Form of Government in a Letter to Signior Paoli ... The Second Edition with Two Letters one from an American Gentleman to the Author which contains some comments on her Sketch of the Democratical Form of Government and the Author's Answer.

London: Printed for W. Johnston [and others], 1769.

Price: $12,000.00

About the item

Second and best edition including her correspondence with Benjamin Rush. [2], 35, [1, blank] pp. Uncut and partially unopened. 1 vols. 4to. Modern three-quarter cloth binding. Paper losses (not affecting text) to first three leaves pages at bottom right corner. Title page with minor paper loss at upper left corner restored. ESTC N2809; Sabin 42945. Not in Adams. Bob Ruppert, Catharine Macaulay, England's First Female Whig Historian, Journal of the American Revolution, https://allthingsliberty.com/2019/02/catharine-macaulay-englands-first-female-whig-historian-1763-1772/. Hay, Carla H. “Catharine Macaulay and the American Revolution.” The Historian, vol. 56, no. 2, 1994, pp. 301–16.

Item #345661

Catharine Macaulay (1731-1791), sometimes referred to as the "Celebrated Mrs. Macaulay" and described as the first English female historian, proved an influential Whig political theorist, best remembered for her multi-volume History of England written in response to David Hume's own Tory history. Central to her thesis was a theory of republican liberty, built upon virtue and the common good, and that the history of England should be viewed through the lens of the people struggling to maintain their freedom. Needless to say, as conflicts with the American colonies escalated over the ensuing years, Macaulay would be sympathetic to the revolutionary cause and establish relationships with Benjamin Rush, John Adams, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, Mercy Otis Warren and others.

The present work is Macaulay's first political pamphlet, first published in 1767. "It was addressed to Pasquale Paoli, the Corsican general, who was leading a revolt against France. In it, she challenged the belief that monarchies were necessary because of the flaws in human nature. She offered advice for constructing a republican constitution: 'Of all the various models of republics, which have been exhibited for the instruction of mankind, it is only the democratical system, rightly balanced, which can secure the virtue, liberty, and happiness of society'” (Ruppert). Her rebuttal of Hobbes, which relies heavily on Lockean concepts, centers on the nature of political authority.

Shortly after the publication of her pamphlet, Macaulay met the American physician Benjamin Rush. "Sometime in early January 1769 at a dinner at the [the publisher] Dilly’s home, Rush met Macaulay. A couple of weeks later, he wrote to her with a question regarding a position she had taken in her fourth volume [of her History]: 'you propose that “the representative assembly should not have the power to imposing taxes till the subject has been first debated by the senate.” Give me leave to observe here that I Cannot help thinking that the assembly should retain the exclusive right of taxing to themselves. They Represent the greatest part of the people. They are ... from all parts of the commonwealth and are therefore much better acquainted with the circumstances of the country. Besides, they ... are naturally supposed to have more property in the state, and therefore have a better right to give it away for the purposes of government" (Ruppert). For the second edition of her Loose Remarks, Macaulay anonymously included Rush's letter as well as her response.

"Macaulay concludes her response to [Rush] by promoting to the Americans 'the general principles of the rights of mankind inculcated in my great work'. Indeed, it is clear that the first five volumes of her eight volume history very clearly spell out the principles that justified the War of Independence, and she was feted when she travelled through nine of the thirteen states [in 1784-85]" (Green, Karen, "Catharine Macaulay", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

All editions of her work are rare, but particularly this second and best edition of her Loose Remarks which includes for the first time her correspondence with Rush.