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Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts

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1822 MSS on Early Human Rights


Pavia, 1822. Manuscript memorandum on the Social Contract Theory made at the onset of the movement for Italian nationalism, by Italian noble and politician Carlo Mazzoleni who examines Natural Law and social order based on the rationales put forth by foremost sociological philosophers, whilst arguing against the then recent publication of Hungarian professor Mihály Ignác Lenhossék (1773-1840). Text is in Italian. Folio. 81 pages, including manuscript title page, half title, and index. Gilt tooled green calf boards, volume measures approximately 22,5 x 33 cm. Carlo Mazzoleni (1781-1838), born in Bergamo, was an Italian noble, political administrator, and royal delegate of Pavia, serving for eleven years during the period of Italian unification as Government Delegate Councillor in Pavia. He was a member of distinguished academic societies for science, and contributed to a compendium on chemistry, medicine, and natural history published in Pavia in 1834. He was involved in the transactions and development of Pavia's hospital in the early 1830s. He also studied literature and fine arts. Mazzoleni earned and maintained the respect and good will of his citizens. He was decorated with the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus. He died and was buried in Pavia, a town and commune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy. This manuscript, Mazzoleni's contemplation and theorum on natural social law, was prepared at a critical time in Italy's history, as the nationalist movement was beginning to stir. As a politician in an era of insurrections, this subject would indeed be the height of his priorities. In 1651 Thomas Hobbes had established the social contract theory, which he introduced in his book 'Leviathan' and which would become enormously influential. A dominant concept throughout history, within moral and political theory, it represents the foundation of most later Western political philosophy. The title of Mazzoleni's treatise is: Sulla necessita di mutare il fondamento della scienzia del Diritto Naturale Pubblico tuttora stabilito sul Contratto sociale ed Osservazioni intorno ad alcune Teorie e Proposizioni che si trovano nell'opera del Professore Lennhosek. Institutiones physiologice organismi humani. Vienne 1822. Memoria due del Consigliere di Governo Imperiale Regio Delegato di Pavia Carlo Mazzoleni. [Loosely translated - "On the Need to Change the Foundation of the Science of Natural Social Law which is Still Based Upon the Social Contract Theory, with Observations Surrounding Some Theories and Propositions Found in Professor Lennhosek's Book on Human Physiology published in Vienna 1822. Two Memorandums by the Royal Imperial Government Councillor of Pavia Carlo Mazzoleni"]. The first part is divided into four chapters: I. Introduzione [Introduction] Mazzoleni mentions Louis Gabriel Ambroise de Bonald, Vicomte de Bonald (1754-1840), a French counter-revolutionary philosopher and politician, best remembered for developing a set of social theories that exercised a powerful influence in shaping the ontological framework from which French sociology would emerge. We also find the name Karl Martini who wrote a book and was on the administration staff of the University of Vienna. II. Origine e Storia della Teoria del Contratto Sociale. [Origin and History of the Theory of the Social Contract] Conceptually tracing the origins of the theory to ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt, Mazzoleni examines its evolution through the centuries in Western Europe, specifically in Holland, Germany, France, England, based on popular political and religious propensities. Naturally, he discusses Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, the official founder of the Social Contract Theory. Other philosophers appear, including Jean-Baptiste le Rond d'Alembert, Emer de Vattel, Christiano Wolfius, as well as Italian poet Thomasin von Zirclaere known for his ethical poems centered on morality. III. Teoria del Contratto Sociale e sue Naturale Conseguenze. [Theory of the Social Contract and its Natural Consequences] Here the writer delves into the theories of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), quoting from his 1762 discourse on Social Contract Theory, "Luomo è nato libero [man is born free, and he is everywhere in chains]." According to Rousseau, like Hobbes and Locke before him, and in contrast to the ancient philosophers, all men are made by nature to be equals, therefore no one has a natural right to govern others, and therefore the only justified authority is the authority that is generated out of agreements or covenants. IV. Teoria Vera del Diritto Naturale, e della Origine della Società. [True Theory of Natural Rights, and the Origin of Society] Again turning to the works of De Bonald and Rousseau, this section examines Natural Law and self-preservation, the founding of societies, obligations and voluntary concessions, order and unity, patriarchal governments, monarchies, aristocracy and democracy, universal laws, and so forth. The final paragraph mentions the Piedmont insurrection of 1821, the Two Sicilies insurrection when Spaniards successfully revolted over disputes about their Constitution, and the July Revolution of 1830 in France, "...come se l'esperienza terribile di questi sciagurati avvenimenti non avessi illuminato le nazioni, e nei libri di testo usati per le scuole sussiste tuttora e funesta teoria dello stato di natura, e del contratto sociale come base da cui si deduce la scienza del Diritto Naturale Publico [... as though the terrible experience of these unfortunate events had not enlightened nations, and in school textbooks teachings still include the fatal theory of the state of nature, and of the social contract theory as the basis from which is deduced the science of Natural Social Rights]". The second and third sections seem to draw directly from the two volume work of medical professor Ignác Mihaly Lennhosek (1773-1840) published in 1822, featuring his uniquely mathematical approaches, scientific physiological observations and moral sensibilities. Overall, Mazzoleni rebukes the doctrines embraced by Lennhosek. Social Contract Theory, nearly as old as philosophy itself, is the view that each persons' moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live. The theory was given its first full exposition and defense by Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) of Malmesbury. After him, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are the best known proponents of this influential and foundational theory. Mihály Ignác Lenhossék, 1773-1840, also known as Michael Ignác von Lenhossek, was a Hungarian doctor, chirurgeon, respected physiologist, and professor at the medical faculty of Vienna's university. He occupied the chair of general anatomy and physiology in both Budapest and Vienna. He is the author of "Institutiones physiologice organismi humani," a Latin work published in 1822 in Vienna. His son was József Lenhossék (1818-1888) was also a physician and professor at the Vienna medical school, as well as an anatomist and anthropologist. His grandson, Mihály (Michael von) Lenhossék (1863-1937) obtained his medical doctorate at Budapest, and subsequently worked in his father's anatomical institute. He then became prosector at the University of Basel, later performing similar duties in Germany. The latter is a pioneer in neurology, particularly well known in the field of in the field of neuroanatomy. MAZZOLENI, Carlo (Nobile, 1781-1838) - Originario di Bergamo, fu, per undici anni i. r. Consigliere di Governo a Pavia (prefetto). Dedito agli studi letterari e alle arti belle, seppe accattivarsi e conservare la stima e la benevolenza dei cittadini e della provincia. Morì e fu sepolto a Pavia. Era decorato dell’ordine militare dei SS. Maurizio e Lazzaro.