A contemporary translation of Letters from Portugal, on the late and present State of that Kingdom (London, 1777), with a 26-page ‘Compendio historico e analitico’ written by the great Portuguese statesman, the Marquês de Pombal, at the end.more...
It was not published until 1822. The fact that these are anonymous led to speculation as to the identity of the author. It has been mooted that they were written by the Marquis de Pombal himself, or by a certain John Blankett, or even by Philadelphia Stephens (1750–1824). This Englishwoman was the sister of William Stephens (1731–1802) and of John James Stephens (1747–1826), who ran the Real Fábrica de Vidros da Marinha Grande (the royal glass factory) for several decades and who benefited from major monopoly concessions. Philadelphia Stephens lived in Portugal from 1762 to 1810. However, every available fact points to her as having merely translated the letters into Portuguese shortly after they were published in Britain. The Portuguese translation is also anonymous, which contributed to heightening the controversy’ (Prof. Mira Castanheira, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, private correspondence).
First edition, first issue - ‘de la plus grande rareté (Carteret) - printed for private circulation in an edition variously estimated at between 25 and 40 copies.more...
A remarkable copy, as issued, retaining the original printed wrappers in their entirety. From the library assembled at the Chateau de Cirey by Diane-Adelaide de Simiane, and presumably given to her by the author.
Ourika, based on fact, and influenced by Rousseau and Chateaubriand, is the complex story of a black African child raised in aristocratic circles in Revolutionary France. It is the first fully developed attempt to portray a black heroine in Europe and the first French novel with a black female narrator.
This first edition, which contains no date of publication, precedes the 1824 first trade edition published by Ladvocat by at least three months and was in circulation in December of 1823, on the evidence of several excited notices in the contemporary press (Pailhès). It is known in two issues, this copy being of the first, with the title page bearing only the title and a quote from Byron: ‘This to be alone, this, this is solitude!’. A second issue followed swiftly with the Byron quotation moved to the head of the text on p. 3 and 16 minor textual corrections; issue points which were recognised and enumerated by Louis Scheler in his article ‘Un best-seller sous Louis XVIII: Ourika par Mme de Duras’, Bulletin du bibliophile, 1988, 11-28. In both issues no author’s name is given and the place of publication and the printer (the Imprimèrie Royale) appear only as a colophon on p. 108. Scheler also cites Mme de Duras’s letter of 14 January, 1824, in which she notes that the first edition was of no more than 30 copies, though it is unclear whether this relates to the first issue only or the first and second. Scheler illustrates the upper wrapper of a first issue copy, but copies retaining the wrapper are of great rarity, with most of the few known copies of the edition being in contemporary or later leather bindings. This copy, never bound, yet retaining its original freshness is a remarkable survival.
OCLC locates only the Bn and Harvard copies of the first edition, none being uncut copies or retaining the printed wrappers. Harvard actually holds copies of the 2 distinct issues.
Ourika soon became a bestseller, with early translations into English, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Danish..see full details
First edition of the official report of Curzon’s administration of Indian home affairs during his period as Viceroy.more...
Curzon’s office was contentious and was concluded following a bitter feud with Kitchener. His belief in traditional sovereignty was frequently at odds with emergent Indian nationalism but many of his achievements have been long lasting, especially in the field of law, education and cultural heritage. Nearly 100 pages of the Home Department report are devoted to his judicial reforms with a further hundred concern policing and penal policies. His work reforming the University system is recounted in detail and there are interesting accounts of the merger between the Calcutta City Library and the Imperial Library to form what became the Indian National Library. Medical, sanitary and plague issues also occupy a full part.
This is one of several official reports on aspects of Curzon’s administration, subtitled: Public Works; Department of Commerce and Industry; Department of Revenue and Agriculture and Railway Board. All are very scarce. COPAC and OCLC between them list copies of the Home Department report at Bodley and Syracuse only..see full details
First edition of this extraordinary treatise on the status of eunuchs in society, according to civil and canon law.more...
Largely based on classical sources, history and (most interestingly) anecdotal evidence from the Orient, Ancillon considers the reasons for the phenomenon (including slavery, household, employment or punishment for sexual misdemeanour). The major contention is that while civil law permits a eunuch to marry, canon law should forbid it (as it did) on the grounds that a marriage could not be consummated. Along the way Ancillon recounts numerous anecdotes of famous eunuchs, notably Abelard, castrated at the instigation of Heloise’s family.
The book was later translated into English by Robert Samber as part of Edmund Curll’s Eunuchism display’d (1718).
This copy of Traité des Eunuques is one of at least two issues of the same year with slightly different paginations and title ornaments. The ‘Epitre dedicatoire’ is signed: ‘C. d’Ollincan’ an anagram of the author’s real name..see full details
The Way to Wealth first appeared in French as a separate publication in 1775. The original English text was first published in Poor Richard’s Almanac for 1758; separately issued in 1760 under the title: Father Abraham’s Speech and frequently reprinted under the title: The Way to Wealth. La Science du bonhomme Richard was translated by A.F. Quétant; the Interrogatoire de Mr. Franklin by P.S. Dupont de Nemours and the Interrogatoire de M. Penn by A.F. Quétant and J.B. L’Écuy..see full details
First edition of this anonymous translation (or more properly précis) from Wolff’s Psychologia empirica (1732) and Psychologia rationalis (1734).more...
A key thinker of the Enlightenment, Wolff had divided psychology into these two distinct fields: the first regarded the soul as an immaterial substance about which it could only deduce rational concepts; he second regarded the soul as matter..see full details
With Cobbett’s autograph dedication addressed to Pope Pius VIII: ‘To His Holiness Pope Pius the Eighth.more...
The present head of that holy church under the influence of which England enjoyed so many ages of plenty freedom happiness and renown this new edition of the history of the Protestant Reformation is dedicated by and in the handwriting of His Holinesses Most Humble Servant William Cobbett. Kensington [1?]0 May 182.’
A History of the Protestant Reformation describes at great length the means employed by the state to dispossess the English poor, beginning with the crown’s appropriation of church lands during the Reformation. It first appeared in two parts (1824–7) was a bestseller and was several times reprinted, including in this second edition (preceded by at least one stereotyped reprint). Cobbett had enthusiastically espoused the cause of Catholic emancipation; his autograph dedication to the Pope apparently appears in more than one copy..see full details
Les Animaux sensibles, intelligens et industrieux.more...
Les Enfans célèbres. pp. 154.
L’Antiquité: Mise a la Portée des Enfans. pp. 156,  (adverts).
Anecdotes Morales. pp. 156, .
Les Siècles de la France. pp. 160.
Le Siècle de Louis XIV, ou Vie des Personnages célèbres qui ont illustré ce siècle. pp. 160.
Six miniature volumes from Delbare’s Petit Bibliothécaire series for children. The individual volumes are very scarce (OCLC lists 2 or 3 of each); the Morgan library holds a comparable set of these 6 volumes in a miniature wooden bookcase. Ours retains part of its original box bearing the label of Alph[onse] Giroux, rue de Coq, Paris. Giroux was a well-known stationer and supplier of artists materials: he later became the sole supplier of Daguerre’s photographic apparatus. There were at least two other titles in the series: a Histoire de France, à l'usage de la jeunesse and a Nouvelle Histoire naturelle à l'usage de la jeunesse, both in 6 volumes..see full details
First edition in French of Tales of the Colonies, presentation copy, inscribed by the translator.more...
In this, the first of his two novels, Rowcroft drew on his own experience as an Australian settler. The work is in part a guide for prospective settlers and part a sensational tale of the hazards of pioneer-era Van Dieman’s Land: sheep-stealers, bushrangers, Aboriginal attackers, floods, snakes, eagles and wild cattle..see full details
Contemporary caricature portraits of the great American millionaires Carnegie, Pierpont-Morgan, Gordon-Bennett, Harjes, Frick and Depew.more...
The drawing was probably intended for reduction and publication in an (unidentified) journal. Rouveyre (1879-1962) was immensely prolific as a caricaturist and maintained friendships and correspondence with important figures such as Apollinaire and Matisse (having met the latter as joint students of the symbolist painter Gustave Moreau)..see full details
First Dublin edition, printed in the same year as the first (London) edition, of this series of witty observations on female characteristics on either side of the Channel.more...
An obituary for Andrews in the Gentleman's Magazine for February 1809 lamented that ‘by his death the Nation is deprived of an able historian, a profound scholar and politician, and a man ever ready to take up his pen in his Country’s cause’ (GM, 79.1, cited in Oxford DNB).see full details
First edition of this work on the early history of the University of Pisa.more...
Though a little younger than the University of Bologna, the university at Pisa is one of the oldest in Europe, with origins in the city’s eleventh-century law school. Its importance to the early history of European law lay in part in its custody of the oldest surviving manuscript of Justinian’s Pandects, which it kept until it was taken by the Florentines at the beginning of the fifteenth century. Pisa attracted many lawyers in the eleventh century (prominent among them were Opitone and Sigerdo) while no less than four professors of the Bologna law school (Bulgarus, Burgundio, Uguccione, and Bandino) were educated there.
Borgo, who published a separate work on the Pandects manuscript the previous year (Dissertazione sopra l’istoria dei Codici pisani delle Pandette di Giustiniano imperatore, Lucca 1764), here traces the origins of the university as a law school long before Papal recognition was granted in the fourteenth century.
Borgo was born and educated at Pisa, graduating in law in 1726 and teaching Civil Law there from 1731. His life was devoted to the study of law and the early records of the city and university. .see full details
First published in 1751, The Tutor’s Assistant became one of the best-selling mathematical books for over a century.more...
‘An incomplete listing comprises 276 editions, the last in 1885... The York editions, starting in 1797, were corrected by Thomas Crosby of that city’ (Wallis in Oxford DNB).’ Crosby also published a popular Key to the book, which itself ran to many editions.
‘This book is by far the most used of all school-books, and deserves to stand high among them’ (De Morgan, Arithmetical Books, 1847, 80, cited by Wallis). .see full details
George Woodward, affectionately dubbed ‘Mustard George’ by his contemporaries, was one of the pioneers of English caricature.more...
Like his drinking-partner Thomas Rowlandson, Woodward absorbed high and low culture omnivorously and paid keen attention to contemporary politics.
A Political Fair is ‘a fantastic survey of the international situation’ in 1807 and is considered one of Woodward’s finest images, the print catalogue of the British Museum devoting two full pages to its complex allegories. At the heart of the fair is a large booth (‘The Best-Booth in the Fair’) representing Great Britain holding aloft on its platform images of Britannia, John Bull, together with an Irishman, Scotsman and Welsh harpist gathered convivially around a punchbowl, while a waiter sweeps into the chamber below with a vast joint of roast beef on his platter. All this was typical of Woodward’s patriotism and was intended to portray the essential unity of the nation amidst the host of clamouring figures in the neighbouring booths representing the other nations. Napoleon, in tricorn and feathers, rebuffs a disgruntled Dutchman complaining about his King with the words ‘I never change Mynheer after the goods are taken out of the Shop’. High up on the right, the American booth displays a placard advertising ‘Much ado about Nothing with the Deserter’, a reference to the friction between Britain and the United States over recent defections from British to American ships and the ban on armed British ships in American ports. The Danish booth on the left advertises ‘The English Fleet and The Devil to Pay’ in reference to the hideous bombardment of Copenhagen by the British fleet in September that year.
Musical and theatrical references abound, with many of the placards punning on the titles of plays and musical performances then showing in London: Much ado about nothing, All’s well that ends well (Shakespeare), The Padlock (Bickerstaffe), The Deserter (Dibdin), The Double Dealer (on the Russian booth, by Congreve) and The English Fleet (Dibdin again)..see full details
An eighteenth-century account book of the guild of hatmakers in the city of Antwerp, covering nearly 70 years.more...
The Antwerp hatmakers were an important craft organization with a well-regulated structure. Their accounts were overseen by aldermen, each serving for several years, who recorded income (usually in the the form of entry fines for new members) and expenditure (usually payment for the guilds officials). One of the major expenditures was the payment of the ‘proefmeesters’ who exercised quality control by examining the products of prospective entrants before admitting them to membership.
The accounts provide a detailed record of the names of entrants to the guild and of guild officials. They also provide much incidental detail of the position of the craft within the regional economy, with frequent expenditures recording contact with the neighbouring towns of Brussels, Mechelen and Bruges..see full details
One of 100 copies, this example one of 65 on Whatman paper, of Uzanne’s influential edition of de Sade’s most important and enduring critical essay.more...
It had first appeared as a preface to Les crimes de l’amour (1799) and sought to trace the origins and development of the modern or psychological novel from classical literature to the eighteenth-century works of Rousseau, Voltaire, De Graffigny, Marivaux and Crébillon fils and in de Sade’s own Aline et Valcourt. De Sade identifies Richardson and Fielding as the masters of the genre (‘C’est Richardson, c’est Fielding qui nous ont appris que l’étude profonde du coeur de l’homme, véritable dédale de la nature, peut seul inspirer le romancier...’) and he prefers Lewis to Radcliffe among gothic novelists. He also denies his authorship of Justine, attributed to him by contemporaries, writing ‘jamais je n’ai fait de tels ouvrages, et je n’en ferai sûrement jamais.’
Uzanne adds a bio-bibliographical preface, the latter portion providing a checklist of de Sade’s works and a critical overview of nineteenth-century studies..see full details
A delightful miniature almanac, which is preceded by several popular songs (‘Aux Dames’, ‘le Portraits’, ‘le Banquet’,‘la Barque à Caron’ etc.) Though without imprint, this is characteristic of the popular miniatures produced by Marcilly..see full details
A collection of finely-executed plates illustrating the vogue for neo-Classical dress, with figures and groups placed within appropriate drawing-room and dinner-table settings.more...
Moses was a sought-after engraver who worked for James Barrie, William Opie and Benjamin West, among others. His lightly-draped figures rendered with a sparse line have clear echoes of Flaxman. The collection was also issued under the imprint of at least two other London publishers (M’Lean and Miller)..see full details