FRANKLIN, Benjamin (printer) - Marcus Tullius CICERO; and James LOGAN (translator)
M. T. Cicero's Cato Major, or His Discourse of Old-Age: With Explanatory Notes
Philadelphia: B. Franklin, 1744. Small 4to. (7 5/8 x 5 1/2 inches). viii, 159, pp. Title printed in red and black, typographical ornaments throughout. Translated and edited by James Logan, and with his cut signature on vellum, mounted to verso of front free endpaper. Inscribed by Dr. John Archibald Ashburner to his half brother John Forbes Jr., 1820, on second free leaf. Title printed in red and in black. Mounted portrait of Logan and previous cataloguer's notes on front free endpaper verso; previous cataloguer's description in pencil on first free leaf, blindstamp of Castle Newe Strathdon Aberdeenshire on same.
Fine example of an American early nineteenth-century (ca. 1820) brown straight-grain morocco binding, stamped in gilt, front and rear joints rubbed; all edges gilt; gilt dentelles; red endpapers.
First edition of Franklin's famous Cato Major. Second issue (with misprint "ony" on page 27 corrected to "only").
"Only once did [Franklin] publish an original, full-sized book at his own expense, James Logan's translation of Cicero's Cato Major. He printed it in large type on creamy paper to flatter the Quaker grandee and to show off his own prowess as a printer" (Benjamin Franklin In Search of a Better World, p. 79). "Next to the almanacs the Cato Major is probably Franklin's best known publication: many think it his most handsome piece of printing, and for a large number of important collectors ... it was the only Franklin imprint worth having in their collections" (Miller). The text and notes are by James Logan (1674-1751), the Philadelphia scientist, statesman, bibliophile and friend of Franklin. This example of the first edition is the second issue, with the misprint "ony" on page 27 corrected to "only."
Church 949; Evans 5361; Hildeburn 868; Miller 347; Sabin 13040.