Item #002723 Presentation copy to Sir James Paget, inscribed by the author: Reflections on the Decline of Science in England. Charles BABBAGE.
Presentation copy to Sir James Paget, inscribed by the author: Reflections on the Decline of Science in England.
Presentation copy to Sir James Paget, inscribed by the author: Reflections on the Decline of Science in England.
Presentation copy to Sir James Paget, inscribed by the author: Reflections on the Decline of Science in England.
Presentation copy to Sir James Paget, inscribed by the author: Reflections on the Decline of Science in England.
Presentation copy to Sir James Paget, inscribed by the author: Reflections on the Decline of Science in England.
Presentation copy to Sir James Paget, inscribed by the author: Reflections on the Decline of Science in England.
Presentation copy to Sir James Paget, inscribed by the author: Reflections on the Decline of Science in England.

Presentation copy to Sir James Paget, inscribed by the author

Presentation copy to Sir James Paget, inscribed by the author: Reflections on the Decline of Science in England.

London: Printed for B. Fellowes and J. Booth, 1830.

1st Edition. Hardcover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good. Item #002723

8vo (215 x 135 mm). 228, [4] pp. including half-title and 4pp. publisher's list of works at end. Contemporary russia, gilt-decorated boards, spine rebacked (some wear to extremities), all edges gilt. Light soiling to title, but generally quite clean and fresh. Provenance: presentation copy from the author to James Paget* inscribed on front free endpaper. ----

Norman 90; Honeyman 169. FIRST EDITION of Babbage's polemic on the state of science in England, aimed mainly at the Royal Society. He also criticised the government in its lack of support in developing science and proposed reforms for scientific education. The decline of English science in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries had long been a byword among the country's more progressive scientists, who deplored England's failure to recognize the importance of scientific achievement even in the face of her increasing industrial and technological power, and who viewed with alarm the widening gap between English and Continental scientific progress. Indeed, this issue had been the primary motivating force behind the formation of the Analytical Society of which Babbage was a founding member: "Reform of science had been the credo of the militant young liberals of the Analytical Society from its early boisterous meetings. Their first objective, the introduction of the Continental notation in calculus, was effectively secured by the early 1820s. The work of Babbage, Herschel and others was beginning to restore the reputation of English mathematics, and foundations were being laid for the English school of De Morgan and Boole. But the young Analyticals had far more ambitions targets in view" (Hyman, Charles Babbage [1982], p.88).
Two versions of the Decline were published: the more usual "octavo" (as here) or small-paper edition, containing 228 pages; and a large-paper "quarto" edition of only 120 pages (Van Sinderen 1980, no. 39. OOC 38). According to a note tipped into the Honeyman copy of the quarto edition, only 'a few [copies were] printed in Quarto, for the use of those Gentlemen who may wish to bind up the Work with the Philosophical Transactions for the Year 1830', a nicely satirical touch in a work that was primarily a diatribe against the Royal Society The order of the editions has not been established. Normal practice was to print large-paper-copies after the smaller edition, although in this case the two could have been published simultaneously.
*Sir James Paget (1814-99), surgeon and pathologist. Paget became a student at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London 1834 at the age of 16, and in his first year there he showed his promise by discovering in human muscle the parasitic worm that causes trichinosis (the same year in which Charles Babbage began the conceptual design of his "analytical engine"). He became eligible to practice in 1836 and went on to become a distinguished physiologist and one of the fathers of modern pathology. In 1858 he was appointed surgeon extraordinary to Queen Victoria, and in 1863 surgeon in ordinary to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, being knighted in 1871. Paget certainly knew Babbage and although he presumably met him a few years after this work was published the inscription is undated and could conceivably be almost contemporaneous. - Visit our website for additional images and information.

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