An Apology for the Bible, in a Series of Letters addressed to Thomas Paine, Author of a Book entitled, The Age of Reason, Part the Second, being an Investigation of True and of Fabulous Theology.
Owned by a member of Benjamin Franklin’s Junto
First edition of Bishop Watson’s bitter attack against the second part of Paine’s Age of Reason and deism. Watson’s defense of the Bible was widely reprinted in America. Like Paine’s work, it ran through many editions, well into the nineteenth-century. Seven editions alone were issued in 1796, the first year of its publication.
This copy was kept by Nicholas Waln (1742-1818), a Philadelphia Quaker, a member of Benjamin Franklin’s Junto, a Library Company director and a member of the American Philosophical Society. Waln signed his name on the title-page.
Waln studied law under Joseph Galloway and at London’s Inner Temple. Later in life, he experienced a religious conversion. Closing his lucrative law practice, Waln transitioned from being a worldly Quaker to a plain one and began preaching in America and Europe. Waln’s involvement in an appeal to Congress seeking to abolish the slave trade earned the ire of then-President George Washington who considered it “very malapropos.” (Whitfield J. Bell, Jr.)
Description: An Apology for the Bible, in a Series of Letters addressed to Thomas Paine, Author of a Book entitled, The Age of Reason, Part the Second, being an Investigation of True and of Fabulous Theology.
London: Printed for T. Evans, in Paternoster-Row; Cadell and Davies, and P. Elmsley, in the Strand; J. Debrett, in Picadilly; and J. Robson, and R. Faulder, in Bond-Street, 1796. Half-title, –385, [1, blank], [2, adverts]pp. 12mo. Full polished tree calf; leather spine label and gilt rules. Rubbing; front joint with hairline crack; front hinge reinforced; foxing; small expert tissue mends to t.p. and two leaves; former crease lines to some pages; good. bcjb 353813.