SALISBURY, Connecticut. - Soame JENYNS (1704-1787).
A View of the Internal Evidence of Christian Religion … The Sixth Edition. Hartford, Ct.: printed by Nathaniel Patten, 1789.Small octavo (signed in 4s, 6 ¼ x 3 5/8 inches; 159 x 93mm.), pp. [1-]4-192. Contemporary marbled roan, the flat spine divided into six unequal compartments by a decorative roll tool, red morocco lettering-piece in the second compartment. Condition: contents toned but otherwise excellent; binding with partial split to upper joint otherwise excellent. Provenance: Lot Norton, jun. (1769-1847, of Lakeville / Salisbury, Ct., book label and signature on p.).
An attractive early American edition of a popular work, with a fine early ownership label of a Salisbury, Connecticut, worthy. Despite the claim on the title, the work appears to be the fifth edition to be published in America (preceded by 1780 Philadelphia; 1785 Richmond, 1787 Richmond and Philadelphia 1788).
“In 1776 Jenyns published his View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion. Though at one period of his life he had affected a kind of deistic scepticism, he had now returned to orthodoxy, and there seems no reason to doubt his sincerity, questioned at the time, in defending Christianity on the ground of its total agreement with the principles of human reason. The work was deservedly praised for its literary merits.” (wikipedia). Samuel Johnson thought it "a pretty book; not very theological indeed; and there seems to be an affectation of ease and carelessness, as if it were not suitable to his character to be very serious about the matter". (quoted in Lowndes, p. 1197).
Lot Norton jnr. , of Wells Hill Road, Lakeville, “Lived on home farm and built about 1800 the house now (1909) occupied by Elbert Eggleston. Was called ‘Squire’ Norton, held town offices and was a member of the General Assembly 1804, 1808, 1815 and 1831” (W.W. Norton. Some Descendants of John Norton of Branford, 1622-1709. [Lakeville: 1909], p.16).