This is the 2nd 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."
"ALTHOUGH the first edition of this work, consisting of 1,000 copies, was exhausted within a year of its publication (1899), it has not been reprinted, by reason of the author's dissatisfaction with its incompleteness. Originally planned as a mere sketch, reproducing a course of lectures, it approached, in the process of writing, somewhat to the character of a detailed and precise though curt record. Its omissions, however, were still so numerous that the author, on retrospect, determined to re-write the work before re-issuing it. The new edition
accordingly, is greatly expanded in every section, by many hundreds of specific additions. A number of chapters are more than doubled in length, new chapters are inserted, and the book, which now appears in two volumes, is more than twice its former size, though, the author hopes, it still preserves the character of condensation. At the same time it has of course been scrupulously revised with regard to accuracy."