Hardcover. Octavos. Two volumes. xvi + 428 pp & xii+ 478pp (iipp advert & blank). Original brown cloth with gilt titling and rules to spine, blind rules & gilt "demon" design to upper boards, beveled edges, b&w illustrations, index. An extensive study of demon-lore. In the Preface the author observed that "The natural world is overlaid by an unnatural religion, breeding bitterness around simplest thoughts, obstructions to science, estrangements not more reasonable than if they resulted from varying notions of lunar figures, all derived from the Devil-bequeathed dogma that certain beliefs and disbeliefs are of infernal instigation. Dogmas molded in a fossil demonology make the foundation of institutions which divert wealth, learning, enterprise, to fictitious ends." Conway's investigations into Devil-lore were thus undertaken from the perspective that the superstitions and practices that had grown out of belief in the devil, his influence, and infernal hordes still had a major and generally negative influence on the way humanity shaped its affairs. In the course of exploring this thesis, he produced this major and almost encyclopaediatic study of devil-lore. Moncure Daniel Conway (1832-1907), was an American abolitionist, clergyman, author and humanitarian, who in later life embraced the ideals of Free-thought, and moved away from the established Church. In addition to the present work, Conway wrote a well-known biography of Thomas Paine, several books on the subject of emancipation, and edited & contributed to a number of journals and newspapers. From the collection of Dr. M. H. Coleman, with his ex-libris seal blind-stamped on the front free endpaper of each volume. The bindings are remarkably clean and fresh, although both have a little rubbing to the head and tail of the spine and the points. Some bumps to the edges of the boards, more so to Vol. II than Vol. I. Rub marks to cloth near front edge of Vol. II, which also has a few rubbed spots on the spine. Occasional light foxing, heavier at the beginning and end of each volume. A few pages dog-eared. Oddly were it not for the bumps and scrapes and foxing the volumes would be in VG + condition, and most unusual thus, as the bindings were not particularly solid, and are usually cracked and chipped. Good sets of the first edition are surprisingly scarce.
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