WHITE, Charles. An account of the regular gradation in man, and in different animals and vegetables; and from the former to the latter. C.Dilly. 1799.
4to. Sometime rebound in half brown calf, spine ith gilt raised bands, tools and green morocco gilt lettering piece, marbled boardss; pp. xii + 146 + xx [appendix], 4 plates (3 folding); a little rubbing to spine, internally very clean, very good.
First edition. Charles White (1728-1813) made his name as an obstetric surgeon, but he is known mainly today for this work in which he attempts a comparison of the physiologies of animals and different groups of men. His conclusion, illustrated by four notorious comparative plates, is that black people are 'lower' humans - that is, closer to apes - than white Europeans. His clearly racist theories, which gained considerable currency through the 19th and early 20th centuries, have been subsequently disproved and discredited. Nevertheless, this book is significant as a foundation work of anthropology. Darwin makes reference to the passages on the gradation of sheep in his The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication.
Catalogue of the Scientific Books in the Library of the Royal Society, 1127.