Manus 18: Nisbet, Charles. Questions and Answers. (Carlisle, Pennsylvania) Edit


Component Unique Identifier
Item 18
Level of Description


  • c. 1798-1802 (Creation)


  • Scope and Contents

    Language: English. Date: c. 1798-1802. Title: Questions and Answers. Creator: Nisbet, Charles (1736-1804) ; Bell, Samuel (1776-1854). Place of creation: Carlisle, Pennsylvania [Dickinson College]. Physical description: Paper, 45, [3], 70, [2], 274 numbered pages ; 21 x 13 cm. Summary: Charles Nisbet, born in Scotland on January 21, 1736, was elected the first principal, or president, of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1784. He served the college both in this capacity and as a professor, teaching subjects including moral philosophy, mental philosophy, belle lettres, logic, systematic theology, and pastoral theology until his death in 1804. This manuscript consists of notes taken by one of Nisbet’s students, Samuel Bell, during a series of Nisbet’s lectures on philosophy. The first section of the manuscript is concerned with the subject of Philosophy broadly construed, the second section appears under the title “Metaphysics,” and the third and longest section is dedicated to Moral Philosophy, untitled but beginning with the question, “What is moral philosophy?” It would appear that at least one other copy of the material on moral philosophy that comprises the bulk of the manuscript exists in the Grace Doherty Library of Centre College under the title, “Questions and Answers on Moral Philosophy,” though there has as of yet been no detailed comparison of the two texts. For more information on Nisbet, see the biographical note to the Charles Nisbet Family Papers, 1769-1865, Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections ; finding aid available online at See also Samuel Miller, Memoir of the Rev. Charles Nisbet, D.D., Late President of Dickinson College, Carlisle (NY: R. Carter, 1840), and, for a different perspective on Nisbet’s accomplishments, see David W. Robinson, “Enlightening the Wilderness: Charle Nisbet’s Failure at Higher Education in Post-Revolutionsry Pennsylvania” in History of Education Quarterly, v. 37, no. 3 (Autumn, 1997): 271-289. The Dickinson College alumni records list Samuel Bell as a graduate in the class of 1802 ; no additional information is provided about his later life and career. Note: Bound in original full brown undecorated leather boards ; morocco label with title, “Nisbet’s Questions and Answers,” to spine. Written in dark brown ink in a single hand. Signature of “Sam[ue]l Bell” on front fly-leaf and in left margin of f. 1 r. Leaf count excludes flyleaves at front and rear. History of Brandeis’s acquisition of the volume unknown ; possibly the gift of Philip D. Sang. Call #: Manus 18