Conjectural Observations on the Origin and Progress of Alphabetic Writing.London: printed by T. Wright, for T. Cadell, and P. Elmsly; M. Hingeston; S. Leacroft; and G. Pearch, 1772 Stock Code: 114068
First edition, in which Davy discusses the Chinese, Hebrew, and Greek writing systems, as well as the "symbolic writing" of the Egyptians. The folding tables show Greek, Hebrew, Samaritan, Syriac, Persian, Arabic, and Coptic letters. Davy's observations on the origin of writing are "conjectural" because he argues that, besides the account of God giving letters to Moses on Mount Sinai, only interesting but uncertain "conjectures" can hope to explain the existence of alphabetical writing. The book concludes with a postscript, pp. 123-127, containing "Conversation between Queen Elizabeth and Dr. Symson" and a "Hymn to Isis". Davy (1722/3-1797) also wrote Letters Addressed Chiefly to a Young Gentleman (1787), which includes a discussion of Ptolemy's doctrine on music.
Octavo (212 x 122 mm). Contemporary sprinkled leather, sometime rebacked, marbled edges.
3 engraved plates, 2 of them folding; engraved vignette on title, engraved armorial shield on dedication leaf, head- and tailpieces.
Reback rubbed, corners worn, inner hinges reinforced, a sprinkle of foxing at foot, overall a good copy.
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