The logicians school-master: or, A comment vpon Ramus logicke

London, Miles Flesher for Iohn Bellamie, 1629.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. (ii), 340. (A)² B-2V⁴ 2X². (without A1 blank). Roman letter, some Italic. Title within double box rule with woodcut ornament, historiated woodcut initials, typographical headpieces, early of autograph of ‘Milo Gale’ on front fly, Tho. Gale beneath. Light age yellowing with some minor spotting in places, scattered worm holes and tracks in lower blank margin, not touching text, upper margin shaved, the odd ink spot and pencil underlining in places. A good copy in contemporary calf, covers double blind ruled to a panel design, blind fleurons to outer corners, spine with raised bands, double blind ruled in compartments, all edges speckled red, outer edge of lower cover and extremities worn.

First edition of this most influential treatise on Logic and rhetoric which were the speciality of Richardson’s school at Barking. His posthumous work was principally concerned with Ramus (1515-1572), whose Dialectica had appeared as Logike in the English version of 1574. After graduating, Richardson found employment as tutor to the children of Thomas Fanshawe (c.1533 – 1601) of Ware Park in Hertfordshire. Fanshawe left money to Richardson who set up his school at Barking around 1607 where “he offered instruction to graduates preparing for their MA examinations. It became in effect a seminary for the godly: among future eminent ministers who benefited from Richardson’s tuition were William Ames, John Barlow, Daniel Cawdrey, Charles Chauncy, John Greenham, Thomas Hooker, George Walker, and John Yates” DNB. They also note that Richardson is the first known user of terms such as ‘contradicent’, ‘distributively’, ‘heterozetesis’, ‘polyzetesis’, ‘privant’, ‘privately’, and ‘relate’ (noun). He is the only known user of ‘adjunctity’, ‘axiomation’, ‘inartificial’ (noun), ‘quadrichotomy’, and ‘unmatch’ (noun).

“Cotton Mather once wrote of a teacher whose influence on his student was so pervasive that, as the student developed, he became a virtual copy of the teacher. That student was Thomas Hooker, and his teacher was Alexander Richardson. (…) A generation later, Samuel Stone also studied with Richardson and was deeply influenced by his theological system. Stone’s Whole Body of Divinity is based entirely on “the methodicall Tables of A. R.,” as Richardson’s theological theses were described. The (eventual) Boston pastor John Wilson was a Richardson student; the overemphasis on ‘works’ that John Cotton’s followers were to detect in Wilson almost surely reflects the influence of Richardson. Just who was this extraordinarily influential figure, a luminary of whom Hooker “would sometimes say, That next to converting Grace, he blessed God for his Acquaintance with the Principles and Writings of that Learned Man, Mr. Alexander Richardson.” In addition to Hooker, Stone, and Wilson, William Ames, John Yates, and the future Harvard President Charles Chauncy were among those who studied with Richardson.

Richardson’s lectures on dialectic and the arts circulated in manuscript until 1629, when they appeared as The Logicians School-Master. Kennedy and Thomas Knoles concluded that the continuing influence of Ramist logic at Harvard “may actually have had more to do with the work of Richardson,” a “creative and eclectic thinker” who “criticized, adjusted, and explained Ramism in the context of Renaissance logic in general.” Baird L. Tipson “Seeing the World Through Ramist Eyes: The Richardsonian Ramism of Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone”. A very good, unsophisticated copy of this rare first edition.

STC 21012. ESTC S115931.


Print This Item Print This Item