"where is the difference between the Libertarian, who says that the mind chooses the motive; and the Necessarian, who asserts that the motive determines the mind?": First Edition of Belsham's Essays , Philosophical, Historical, and Literary; credited with creating the term 'libertarian'

  • Essays, Philosophical, Historical, and Literary.

Essays, Philosophical, Historical, and Literary.


Item Number: 36071

London: C. Dilly, In the Poultry, 1789.

First edition of William Belsham’s collected essays, including the seminal treatise On Liberty and Necessity which is credited with coining the term ‘libertarian.’ Octavo, bound in half calf over marbled boards. In very good condition with contemporary handwriting on title page with W. Belsham written in pencil. First editions are rare with none appearing at auction in the last 60 years.

William Belsham was an English political writer and historian, noted as a supporter of the Whig Party and its principles. He justified the American Revolution in excusing Americans in their resistance to the demands of England and was an advocate of progressive political liberty. His first essay was On Liberty and Necessity, a topic much discussed since Thomas Hobbes' famous essay of the same title. This essay is cited as the first to use the term "Libertarian." For Belsham it was a term of abuse. Liberty was nearly synonymous with libertine, a description of a person with no responsibility.

Ask a Question