An essay on man : autograph manuscript of the first draft of the poem, undated [1730-1731].

Record ID: 
Accession number: 
MA 348
Pope, Alexander, 1688-1744.
Epistle IV: Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909.
1 item (40 p. in 4 pamphlets), unbound ; size varies

Dating: Previously cataloged as "finished in 1733," however Maynard Mack notes that the Morgan manuscript predates the Harvard manuscript, which was made in 1730-1731. A letter dated 2 August 1731 from Bolingbroke to Swift notes that three epistles have been finished and that Pope is working on the fourth.
Each epistle with wrappers of blue blotting paper. The front wrapper for Epistle III is labeled "Epist. 3d / N 1 & 2 / Learn Dulnes Learn! &c.;" the front wrapper for Epistle IV is labeled "Epis 1st of Man [in the Abstract] with respect to the Universal System." Additionally, Epistle I is preceded by an otherwise blank page with a note in Pope's hand reading: "Eipst. I of Man [in ye abstract] with respect to the universal System;" Epistle II by a page labeled "No. 2 / Learn we ourselves &c.;" Epistle III by a page labeled "1 / Learn Dulnes learn! &c.;" Epistle IV by a page labeled "No 1 / Popes Hymn to God &c & Epistle 4th."
Epistles I-III were in the possession of the Chauncey heirs in the 1860s when Rev. Whitwell Elwin consulted them for his Works of Pope.
High reserve.
Written on sheets of paper ranging from 18-31 cm. See Mack for a full bibliographical description.


An early draft of the poem, consisting of Epistle I (11 p.), Epistle II (6 p.), Epistle III (15 p.), Epistle IV (8 p.), with extensive revisions and corrections by the author throughout.

Housed in: 
Blue cloth drop-spine box (34 cm)
Epistles I-III: Presented by Pope to Jonathan Richardson (1694-1771); Dr. Charles Chauncey, and by descent in his family until at least 1860; General William Nassau Lees; his sale (Christie's, 30 July 1889, lot 79), to a "Mr. Hervey"; acquired by Pierpont Morgan before 1907. Epistle IV: Purchased by Pierpont Morgan from the dealer Frank T. Sabin, 1909.