James Speirs was a prolific evangelical speaker and publisher, whose printed output suggests he was an important figure in the Victorian Sunday School movement.more...
Sown in the spring-time collects 12 addresses aimed at a juvenile audience by Speirs and others (R.L. Tafel, Alfred J. Johnson, Samuel Teed and Charles A. Faraday) several on a theme of natural metaphor: “About Hares and Tortoises”; “The Horse and its correspondence”, “The Serpent and its correspondence” and “Trees”. .see full details
An apparently unrecorded issue of this anonymous anti-freemasonry sermon: also printed in the same year as Masonry the Way to Hell.more...
The sermon takes as its text Revelation XVII, 5 “And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the Earth” and gives a detailed consideration of the supposed ceremonies of the masons. Three other editions/issues dated 1768 are known, one with a Robinson and Roberts imprint paginating [iv], 39,  (NY Historical Society only) and a stated “Second edition” with the same imprint and pagination (BL and Clark Library, UCLA only), together with a Dublin reprint. All three are recorded by ESTC in single copies only. The Sermon provoked a response from John Thompson, freemason, entitled Remarks on a sermon lately published; entitled, Masonry the way to hell. Being a defence of that antient and honourable order, against the Jesuitical sophistry and false calumny of the author (1768, BL only)..see full details
First edition, engraved throughout and printed for the author, an invaluable guide to the stratigraphy of Georgian society, which includes a section on the ‘Precedency of Women’.more...
Joseph Edmondson was an artist of humble origins who had begun his career as a coach-painter, and became coach-painter to Queen Charlotte in 1763. ‘On 21 January 1764, thanks to the support of the new deputy earl marshal, Lord Suffolk, Edmondson was created Mowbray herald of arms extraordinary, although he continued his successful coach-painting business until his death.’ (n Oxford DNB). Precedency gives tables of precedency of British men and women and provides a list of ‘collar days’ on which those entitled may wear their official “collars” indicating precedency. The book was reprinted in a second edition c. 1785..see full details
First published in 1761 and also published in English in 1762.more...
“Politique et social. Réflexions sur l’intolérance, qui est parfois nécessaire (mais dommages causés par l’émigration des protestants); les impôts, qui sont moins lourds que mal répartis; la néfaste célibat des prêtres; la nécessité des lois somptuaires, bien que ‘le luxe qui perd un petit état en enrichit un grand’; le duel, qui peut mener à la destruction de l’espèce humaine; l’exemption d’impôts des pères de famille qui favoriserait la population...” (INED)..see full details
FIRST EDITION of Colbert’s famous codification for Louis XIV, the basis of modern maritime law in all parts of the world.more...
The Ordonnance occupies an important place in the history of insurance, both in the field of marine insurance (which is fully described) and life insurance, since it allows (probably for the first time in print) that in limited circumstances lives may be insured as opposed to just goods. This arose from the need for ship owners to insure cargos of slaves or against the possibility of the capture and ransome of passengers and crew. While the Ordonnance expressly excludes the possibility of insuring lives in general, an exception is made in the case of slaves (since they were legally ‘goods’ rather than lives) whose value could be insured. Since ransomed individuals could acquire a monetary ‘price’, French slavers were thus able to create a legal fiction where the price originally paid for a slave could be expressed as a ransom and thus become an insurable figure (provided the slave die in other than ‘natural’ circumstances). The codification of procedure in these cases thus began a culture in which human life could be valued in monetary terms for the purpose of insurance (see Armstrong, The Logic of Slavery, 2012, pp. 15-16).see full details
First edition of Erard’s legal pleas, a presentation copy.more...
Included as the seventh plea is Erard’s presentation at the celebrated case of the Duc de Mazarin and his wife Hortense née Mancini. Hortense had been one of the mistresses of the English Charles II before entering into an unhappy marriage with the bizarre Armand Charles de La Porte, later Duc de Mazarin, whose jealously and psychosexual oddities led to her elopement to England (after a purported lesbian love affair) and request for divorce. The case is described in detail. It was printed in English in 1699..see full details
Second edition, a rare Revolutionary pamphlet, first published the year before, and amended here in light of the ‘happy events’ of the Revolution which ‘obligent le zèle et la bonne foi de l’auteur.more...
.. de donner ici, comme dans un postscrit, ou supplément, les corrections et additions que la justice et le changement des circonstances rendent nécessaires’ (p. iii). The pagination in both versions, however, is identical.
The author analyses the effects of a revolution in France by looking at the changes it would make under three headings – ‘La Justice, l’utilité, la facilité’; gives a spirited criticism of what is now known as the Ancien régime and joyously lauds the actions of his revolutionary comrades..see full details
Gay describes this gossipy little book as a “recueil de pièces satiriques, dirigées pour la plupart contre la clergé”, with the Jesuites du College de Louis le Grand and Louis XIV's great general, the Maréchal de Villars singled out for special attention.more...
The anonymous author satirically describes himself as “Chevalier de l’Ordre de l’Industrie & de la Gibeciere” (‘chevalier d'industrie’ means swindler in French and ‘gibecièr’ is a gamebag or satchel), but his real identity remains a mystery. This is the second edition. A more common issue with the imprint 'la présente année' is considered variously to have been printed from 1700 to 1708. The BL catalogue suggests Holland as the place of publication for our edition. No source hazards a guess at the author.
De Courtin's work purports to be an early self-help manual which offers practical advice on dealing with jealousy in a marriage, which, as the advertisement proclaims: "De toutes les maladies de l'esprit, La Jalousie est assurément la plus dangereuse, & la plus difficile à guerir". Despite being described by Gay as an "ouvrage ennuyeux et mal ecrit", the frequency with which the title was reprinted after its first publication in 1764 is testament to its contemporary popularity.
The final work Octavie ou l'Epouse fidelle was first published in 1683; this imprint is not dated, but other undated copies are suggested to have been published c.1700. .see full details
This immensely popular juvenile novel emphasises thrift and hard work through the character of Simon, a travelling salesman. It was published by La Société pour l’instruction élémentaire following a competition, with a prize of 1000 francs donated by an anonymous benefactor, for a work of no more than 250 pages in which were ‘tracés avec simplicité, précision et sagesse, le principes de religion chrétienne, de morale, de prudence sociale’, for the improvement of everyday town and country people. There were numerous subsequent editions in France, as well as translations into Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Greek and even Breton.
A nephew of the Jussieu brothers of botanical fame, Laurent Jussieu became director of police to the French minister for the interior in 1837..see full details
A pamphlet on the advantages of free trade, written by Bentham with his disciple John Bowring in response to the new customs tariff passed by the Cortes. Bentham was inspired by the liberal Spanish government, but soon disappointed with introduction of laws which limited both personal and commercial liberties..see full details
A collection of 12 scarce treaties between Britain and her allies following the French declaration of war in 1793 and one further treaty negotiated with Bavaria in 1800.more...
The backbone of the British war policy, these 1793 agreements were designed to create an allied coalition against the French, of which the axis would be Britain and the German powers, with further support from subsidiary powers in the Baltic, Mediterranean and Atlantic. However, the speed and efficiency with which these agreements were signed belies the complex and conflicting aims of each nation and the subsequent rapid disintegration of the policy.
Britain's initial admiration for the evolving Revolution in France quickly changed to alarm with the execution of Louis XVI in January 1793, followed by the French declarations of war on Britain and the Dutch Republic on February 1 and Spain on March 7. French war-mongering had already led to the annexation of Savoy, Belgium and the Rhineland in 1792 and French ambitions were spelt out by Danton in the National Convention: "The frontiers of France have been mapped by nature, and we shall reach them at the four corners of the horizon, on the banks of the Rhine, by the side of the ocean and at the Alps. It is there that we shall reach the limits of our Republic."
Notably, the first two agreements were conventions signed with Russia, one uniting the two countries as allies against the aggressions of France and securing Russia's cooperation in the naval war, the other being a trade agreement, which finally settled a longstanding commercial dispute between Britain and Russia. Signed on the same day in March 1793, a contemporary commentator wryly noted that it seemed the two powers were competing as to "who shall be most fond and shall kiss the first". However, despite the apparent goodwill on both sides, the conventions never led to full and binding treaties.
Similarly, the terms of the convention signed with Prussia unravelled almost as soon as the ink was dry and within two months Frederick William II was demanding significant additional terms. Lord Grenville, Britain's Foreign Secretary, took a dim view of such demands and having first shored up his own position by negotiating a separate agreement with Austria, he initially refused to comply with Prussian requests. However, under pressure from Pitt and Dundas, Grenville was forced to negotiate further with the Prussians, with the result that the Austrians were in turn estranged.
Like Russia, the Spanish had their own motives for joining the war and despite the successful signing of the convention of Aranjuez, which committed both parties to explore the prospects of an alliance, a further agreement was never reached. Alliances with Portugal, Sardinia and Sicily proved equally problematic in the following months..see full details
Tiphaigne de la Roche’s L’Amour Dévoilé is a notable attempt to explain love and sexual attraction in mechanistic terms. The author considers the role of ‘la matière Sympathique’, which he believed to be a type of vapour exhaled by both animals and humans, and its action upon the senses of a member of the opposite sex. This rational approach to the subject makes overt reference to Leeuwenhoek who had explained the action of skin pores and appears to prefigure modern research into pheromones.
The author studied medicine at the University of Caen and practised as a physician. L’Amour Dévoilé is his first published work preceding several speculative and utopian novels, notably Giphantie (1760, the title an anagram of his name) in which he anticipated several modern developments including photography and synthetic food.
Pernetti, author of the moral romance Histoire de Favoride was a canon of the cathedral at Lyon and a prominent antiquary of that city. He was also a freemason and wrote a short treatise on that subject..see full details
First edition of this comprehensive study of the sociology of gambling by French writer and self-confessed ex-gambler Jean Dusaulx (1728-1799).more...
Gambling was deeply-rooted in French society, especially in Paris, where all classes (including the court) were obsessed with card games and lotteries. Dusaulx sought to analyse this craze and to point out the moral depravity which it both reflected and encouraged. He includes numerous anecdotes to illustrate the irrationality of the gambler, making De la Passion du Jeu an important account of this aspect of the social history of pre-Revolutionary France..see full details
The book gives details of various methods of catching different fish, and which rivers to find them in. It is the first angling book to mention silk-worm gut. According to ESTC, this present work was issued separately by five different printers in 1724. This issue is the only one included in Westwood & Satchell (Biblioteca Piscatoria, pp.189). The attractive engraved folding frontispiece shows different methods of fishing and four species of fish: brill, trout, carp and perch. ESTC lists three copies only: at Harvard, Princeton and Boston Public Library..see full details