This is the 1st edition of Robertson's classic "History of Freethought," of which there were 4 editions. McCabe writes about Robertson the following:
"Mr. Robertson has been the most considerable force in English Rationalism since the death of Bradlaugh, to whom he was greatly attached. His works on comparative mythology, as bearing on the problem of Christ (whose historicity he denies —see his Christianity and Mythology, 1900, and Pagan Christs, 1903), are works of impressive learning; and his Short History of Christianity (1902) and Shorl History of Freethought (2 vols., 1915) are equally
valuable on the historical side. He drastically rejects religion in every shape, and has been for decades a powerful Rationalist and Ethical lecturer. He is at the same time a very able and critical economist, a weighty writer on certain fields of English literature, a good linguist, and an outstanding figure in the political world. No man has rendered higher service to British
Rationalism in the last four decades, and few, especially among self-educated men, have attained such reputable command of so many branches of culture." Quoted from McCabe's "Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists."
Quoted from the author's "Preface."
"SHORT histories are perhaps not among the best of disciplines; and the History of Freethought is at least as hard to write justly or master intelligently in short compass as any other. At the same time, the concise history, which is a different thing from the epitomes
denounced by Bacon, has its advantages; and l have striven in this case to guard somewhat against the disadvantages by habitual citation of authorities, and by the frequent brief discussion, in paragraphs in smaller type, of disputed and theoretical matters. These discussions can be skipped by the unleisured reader, and weighed by the student, at pleasure, the general narrative in larger type going on continuously."
"Such a book could not be written without much use of the works of specialists in the history of religion and philosophy, or without debt to many other culture-historians. These debts, I think, are pretty fully indicated in the notes; from which it will also appear, I hope, that I have striven to check my authorities throughout, and to make the reader aware of most occasions for doubt on matters of historic fact. The generalisation of the subject matter is for the most part my own affair. I must acknowledge, however, one debt which would not otherwise appear on the face of the book — that, namely, which I owe to my dead friend, J . M. Wheeler, for the many modern clues yielded by his Biographical Dictionary of Freethinkers, a work which stands for an amount of nomadic research that only those who have worked over
the ground can well appreciate."