Presidential Secretary Tobias Lear’s Copy of Erasmus of Rotterdam’s English-Latin Humanistic Philosophies
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Signed Book, Erasmus’s Select Colloquies. London, 1766. In Latin and English. Signed “Tobias Lear ejus Liber ex dono Patris iri anno domini noster 1773” on the rear free fly. A rough copy, rubbed, boards separating but present. Also signed by Tobias Sherburne and Benjamin Lincoln Lear at front.
Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) of Rotterdam was a classical scholar, humanist, priest, and reformer, although not of the Martin Luther school. He advocated religious tolerance and was known as the “Prince of the Humanists.”
Tobias Lear V (1762-1816) was born in Portsmouth, N.H., and despite moderate means, attended Harvard University. In 1784, through the recommendation of his uncle, Benjamin Lincoln, he was hired as George Washington’s personal secretary to handle his voluminous correspondence, oversee Mount Vernon’s accounts, and tutor Washington’s adopted children. He and his family were part of the presidential households in New York and Philadelphia.