Printed Book Purchases

  • Holy Bible containing the bookes of the Old and New Testament. Cambridge, 1660.
    • This beautifully printed folio Bible has a distinguished provenance. The first recorded owner was Sir Archibald Primrose (1616-1679), a supporter of James, first Marquis of Montrose, who was knighted by Charles II. It passed to his son of the same name, who was the first Earl of Rosebery, and a direct ancestor of Archibald Primrose, the fifth Earl who was a prominent early benefactor to the National Library. The Bible left the Rosebery collection in 1746, when it was purchased by Edward Wright in Edinburgh for £5.0.0. From 1786 until at least 1828 it was in the possession of the Gibson family of Clifton Hall, Edinburgh, whose manuscript notes recording some thirteen children survive in this volume.
  • Geddes, William. The saints recreation, third part, upon the estate of grace. Edinburgh, 1683.
    • This version of Geddes's volume of pious verse contains a rare dedication to Margaret Lesley, Countess-Dowager of Wemyss, dated June 1683. The author received financial assistance for the publication of the volume from the Countess-Dowager, whom he praises for her 'Christian moderation, prudence and sobrietie ... in this cold, Laodicean-like and backslyding age'. More common editions contain dedications to Anna, Duchess of Hamilton, Dame Lilias Drummond and Dame Anna Sinclair. Geddes (1600?-1694) was a Presbyterian minister in Wick and also at Urquhart, Elgin. The volume is bound in red-stained deerskin, which was rarely used in the late seventeenth century.
  • The sett of the city of Edinburgh. Edinburgh, 1683.
    • An important piece about the government of the burgh of Edinburgh, this contains the agreement reached a hundred years before, in 1583. Various resolutions confirm the responsibilities of craftsmen, merchants, bailies and provost, with the addition of acts from the later seventeenth century. The Library has another copy of this edition, but the new acquisition is slightly different: a comparison shows that this work (in Harry Aldis's checklist of early Scottish printing, number 2426) exists in two different states, one with an inaccurate title-page.
  • Briscoe, John. The following proposals for, and accounts of, a National Land-Bank having been printed at London. Edinburgh, 1695.
    • Printed material produced in the period of Harry Aldis's List of books printed in Scotland before 1700 are highly prized acquisitions. Although this is an Edinburgh reprint of a London title it takes the Library one step closer to having a copy of the complete printed output of Scotland before 1700. This pamphlet is a proposal for the establishment by subscription of a National Land Bank, whose assets would include the land of its subscribers. John Briscoe, the proposer of the Bank, claimed that he could double the value of Freeholders' estates if they subscribed to his Land Bank. To do this, he would 'turn their estates into a living stock'. Briscoe's proposals were also aimed at addressing the high interest rates that were crippling commerce in this period.
  • The tryal of Sr. Godfrey McCulloch, vindicated. Edinburgh, 1697. (Plus ten other pamphlets.)
    • This volume of pamphlets was purchased primarily for the work whose title is given above. This title was recorded by Aldis (3677) but no holdings information was provided. Until this volume appeared at auction, no surviving copies were known. It is most pleasing that a copy of this elusive seventeenth-century Scottish work has finally been located and acquired by the National Library of Scotland. This work concerns the trial and execution of McCulloch, a hereditary baronet of Nova Scotia, for the murder of William Gordon in 1690. This purchase complements the library's existing holding of The last speech of Sir Godfrey M'Culloch. The other pamphlets in the volume are also of interest, relating to the radical writer and political leader John Lilburne.
  • Com. Civit. Limirick. The information of the Right Honble the Lord Forester. [Limerick?], 1714.
    An express from Scotland; with an account of defeating two thousand of the rebels. Dublin, 1715.
    • These two unrecorded broadsheets concerning the Old Pretender provide an important Irish perspective on the 1715 rising. One reports the defeat of the Earl of Mar's forces by the Duke of Argyle and attempts in Dublin and Galway to proclaim the Old Pretender king. The printer, John Whalley, was fiercely anti-Catholic, going so far as to petition the House of Lords in 1719 for the castration of priests. The second item is a curious account of a lawsuit arising from a tavern brawl in Limerick. This occurred when Lord Forester took umbrage at a suggestion from one Richard Roche that he was a Jacobite, 'which every honest man, and every Scotch man was for'.
  • [Lilly, William] Pater, Erra. The book of knowledge: treating of the wisdom of the ancients. Glasgow, 1726.
    • An unrecorded Glasgow edition of this hugely popular almanac text 'translated' by the seventeenth-century astrologer William Lilly using the pseudonym 'Erra Pater, a Jew'. Most of the many eighteenth-century editions are recorded in only one or two copies. The National Library also holds Glasgow imprints of this title dated 1786 and 1794. This edition is strikingly illustrated with a number of crude woodcuts of facial moles and astrological signs. Additional material with a Scottish flavour includes lists of Scottish fairs, descriptions of the 'most remarkable highways', and a 'table of the kings of Scotland'.
  • Row, James. The Wounds o' the Kirk o' Scotland. Dublin, 1730.
    • In 1638, James Row preached in St. Giles's Kirk to persuade the congregation to sign the National Covenant. Row's use of broad Scots and homely expressions made the sermon famous. In particular, his adaptation of the tale of Balaam's ass includes a colourful description of Balaam's 'Pock-mantle' (travelling bag), full of detestable books like the Book of Common Prayer. The term 'Pockmanty preaching' seems to have become a generic term. Like other eighteenth-century editions, this one probably exaggerates the earthiness of the vernacular for humorous purposes, and it includes a satire in mock Scots, the 'Elegy on the Reverend Mess Sawney Sinkler'. Only one other copy of this edition is known.
  • Steuart, James, Sir. An enquiry into the principles of political oeconomy: being an essay on the science of domestic policy in free nations. London, 1767.
    • This is a very important addition to the Library's holdings of Scottish Enlightenment texts. The author, a one-time Jacobite, was 'the first to set out with some pretence at system the principles of economic policy and to analyze their theoretical basis' (Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences). However, the verbose and somewhat turgid nature of his writing meant that his work was overlooked in his own lifetime. Adam Smith in his Wealth of nations (1776) did not even refer to Steuart's arguments. On the other hand, nineteenth century German scholars recognized the value of his work and hailed him as the real founder of economic science.
  • Metastasio, Pietro. Bethulia delivered. Edinburgh, 1774.
    • Domenico Corri (1746-1825), singing master and composer to the Musical Society in Edinburgh, set this drama to music. Corri was born in Rome and came to Scotland in 1771 on the recommendation of the musician Charles Burney. Before moving to London around 1790 he founded a successful publishing business and managed the Theatre Royal. The manuscript annotation on the title page appears to indicate that a benefit performance took place for Corri on 8 March 1774. According to the cast list, Signor Corri and his wife took the principal roles. Only one other copy of this libretto, which was first performed in Vienna in 1734, is recorded in Britain.
  • Pownall, Thomas. A letter from Governor Pownall to Adam Smith ... being an examination of several points of doctrine, laid down in his 'Inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations'. London, 1776.
    • This is probably the earliest criticism of Adam Smith's Wealth of nations, published earlier in 1776, and is a significant addition to the Library's holdings relating to the Scottish Enlightenment. The author, though disagreeing with some elements in Smith's arguments, was generally complimentary. He believed that if a number of corrections were made, the book could be used as a basis for lectures 'in our universities'. In fact, Smith subsequently sent him a letter of thanks for 'his very great politeness'. Pownall had previously been Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company (1757-59) and Governor of South Carolina (1759-60), and at the time of writing the critique was the MP for Minehead. He published on a wide range of subjects including the administration of the colonies, international trade and law.
  • Smith, Adam. The theory of moral sentiments. Dublin, 1777.
    • This is the first Irish edition of Adam Smith's main philosophical work, originally published in London in 1759. No other copies have been traced in public ownership in the UK. Although described on the title-page as the sixth edition, it is in fact the fifth edition published in English. The Theory of Moral Sentiments was Smith's first major work and after The Wealth of Nations (1776), his most important. Warmly praised by David Hume and Edmund Burke, the work established Smith's reputation as a leading writer and thinker.
  • [Macpherson, James]. Tales of Ossian for use and entertainment. Ein Lesebuch für Anfänger im Englischen. Nurnberg, 1784.
    • This interesting German-English version of Macpherson's landmark work is quite rare. Apparently designed for young students of English in Germany, it contains tales from the epics of Fingal and Temora, with notes and a glossary to make them accessible to Germans. These reading aids and the historical preface are all by Johann Balbach. The edition is probably based on the 1783 pirated reprint of the Tales of Ossian prepared by Goethe and his friend Johann Heinrich Merck published in the previous decade. A second edition appeared in 1794 and a third in 1822. Arguably the earliest adaptation published for children, this is an important addition to the National Library's corpus of Ossianic works.
  • Monboddo, James Burnett, Lord. Des Lord Monboddo Werk von dem Ursprunge und Fortgange der Sprache. 2 vols. Riga, 1784-1785.
    • This is a rare copy of the first German edition, an abridged translation of volumes 1-3, of Lord Monboddo's seminal work Of the origin and progress of language, which was published in six volumes between 1773 and 1792. It is in fact the only translation of any of his works published prior to the 1970s. It was prefaced with a laudatory essay by Johann Gottfried von Herder, the leading German philosopher of his time. Herder praised the broad philosophical perspective from which Monboddo approached the topic of the origin of language, though Scottish contemporaries such as David Hume and Lord Kames ridiculed his views on the humanity of the orang-outang. Monboddo (1714-1799), a member of the Select Society and a close friend of James Boswell, was one of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment.
  • Grant, John. Copy of a paper to the magistrates of Edinburgh. [Edinburgh?], 1794.
    Grant, John. To the Right Hon. Charles Townsend. [Glasgow?], 1794.
    • The above two unrecorded single-sheet items, one of which has an undated holograph letter from Grant pasted to its verso, document a case of unusual paranoia. Grant, who described himself as a journeyman weaver, believed that he was being chased and tormented by none other than the philosopher David Hume. In these letters he sought the assistance of notable public figures and described how for twenty-six years Hume had followed him through Scotland, England and Ireland, bribing people to poison Grant's food. Hume had died in 1776, but this had not stopped the persecution, and Grant expressed his outrage at the monument to Hume in Calton churchyard. The letter to Gleghorn complained that the doctor had offered him useless remedies on Hume's instructions. Whether a curious joke or a sad testimony to mental illness, these items are evidence of Hume's widespread influence.
  • Mitchell, Hugh. A short apology for apostacy. Glasgow, 1797.
    • This provocative title introduces a scathing and witty attack on organised religion in Scotland. Mitchell, a former minister, had come to detest the task of using the pulpit to uphold the policies of the political establishment. In particular, he condemned the practice of churches praying for their country's military success. In this publication, he argues that 'heresy' is a good thing, as it simply means individuals are free to follow their own opinions. Towards the end of the work, Mitchell gives a long list of the various Christian doctrines he finds incomprehensible. Only two other copies of this first edition have been located.
  • Deuchar, David. A collection of etchings after the most eminent masters of the Dutch and Flemish schools. Edinburgh, 1803.
    • These two volumes with 361 fine etchings by the Edinburgh seal-engraver, David Deuchar, were probably produced for private circulation among friends, who included the artists David Allan, John Brown and Alexander Runciman. The etchings are in the style of the old masters of the Low Countries and include contemporary character studies, fashion plates, representations of rusticity and genre scenes of Edinburgh life. These drawings had an influence on 'the later etchings of Wilkie and Geddes' (Cursiter). Deuchar is also credited with encouraging Henry Raeburn to become a portrait painter. No other copies of Deuchar's etchings in this format have been traced.
  • Sinclair, John, Sir. A sketch of the improvements now carrying on in the county of Caithness, north Britain. London, 1803.
    • In this work 'Statistical Sir John' describes his plans for improvements to 'a remote and neglected district of a country', most of which was his own property. He focuses on some of his favoured methods of economic improvement, including the promotion of sheep farming and fisheries, the cultivation of 'fenland', as well as discussing the construction of a new town in Thurso - not dissimilar to Edinburgh's New Town. Described by a contemporary as 'the most indefatigable man in Britain', Sinclair inaugurated the British Wool Society in 1791, founded the Board of Agriculture two years later and was the prime-mover in the compilation of the mammoth Statistical account of Scotland, published between 1791 and 1799.
  • Dreadful fray, which took place at Culrain near Gladsfield in Ross-shire. [Edinburgh?], 1820.
    • This rare broadside consisting of letters printed in the 'Scotsman' and the 'Glasgow Courier', gives a graphic, if biased, account of one of the flashpoints of the 'Clearances'. The unrest arose from the decision of Hugh Munro, the Laird of Novar, to evict 600 tenants from his Culrain estates in order to begin sheep-farming. Sheriff Donald Macleod, backed by the militia, on arriving to execute the eviction notice, was set upon by a 'determined body of females' (also described as 'amazons') and was forced to retreat. Although the injuries of the authorities are mentioned, the authors neglect to record the mortal wounding of a local woman. Faced with the stern disapproval of the local minister and the prospect of further fatalities, the tenants were forced to submit.
  • Mackie, Charles. The original history of the abbey, palace and chapel royal of Holyroodhouse. Edinburgh, 1829.
    • Although a highly popular book on Holyrood, first published in 1819, this copy has a fascinating provenance. The book was bound as a gift to King Charles X of France, who took up residence at Holyrood in October 1830, having been overthrown in the revolution of August 1830. The book then passed to Charles's grandson Henry V, Comte de Chambord (1820-1883), and to Don Jaime de Bourbon, Duc de Madrid (1870-1931), a member of the Spanish branch of the Bourbons, whose ownership stamp marked Frohsdorf (near Salzburg) appears throughout the volume.
  • Souvenirs des highlands voyage a la suite de Henri V en 1832. Paris, 1835.
    • Henri Dieudonné d'Artois, Comte de Chambord, Duc de Bordeaux, was the last heir of the elder branch of the Bourbons and, as Henri V, pretender to the French throne from 1830. He was a lover of Scotland and travelled through the country in 1832. Charles-Achille d'Hardiviller accompanied the young 'king' into exile. He was his drawing-master and was reponsible for the images. The thirty plates, which were lithographed by Villain, depict various locations in Scotland, including Fort Augustus, Inverlochy, Loch Leven and Edinburgh. There is a particularly striking one of Henri V in full highland dress at the Rest and Be Thankful. This copy is as issued in three parts with the original green paper covers.
  • Montrose illustrated in five views with [a] plan of the town and several vignettes, to which are added a few explanatory remarks. Montrose, 1840.
    • A pristine example of early lithographic printing in Scotland. This volume appears to have been a prototype for a series of views drawn by James Gordon, Jr. and published by J. & D. Nichol of Montrose under the general title 'Cities & towns of Scotland illustrated'. Views of Aberdeen, Perth, Glasgow and Dumfries were subsequently published. Lithography did not begin in Scotland until 1820, over two decades after its development in Germany. The lithographer responsible for this work was William Nichol, based in Hanover Street, Edinburgh. He wrote the entry for 'Lithography' in the seventh edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, published in 1841. The volume contains a bookplate of Fasque, the house and estate of William Ewart Gladstone, the statesman and Prime Minister.
  • Billings, Robert William. The Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland. Edinburgh & London, n.d.
    • This is an unusual version of the first edition of Billings' magnum opus, a descriptive catalogue of notable early churches, castles and towers in Scotland, with attractive engravings of the author's own detailed drawings. The author's introduction is dated 29 February 1852, although the 240 plates are dated 1847-1848. Like the standard edition, this set is in four volumes, but it is printed in large folio. There do not appear to be any text or plates different to the standard edition, but the plates are positioned differently and are in superior condition due to being printed on fine India paper. A manuscript note on the inside of the front cover of the first volume suggests that this was the copy of William Blackwood, the publisher.
  • London and North Western Railway. [Broadsides relating to Queen Victoria's journey by train from Ballater to Windsor.] London, 1876.
    • Nine broadsides showing the details of the Queen's journey on the 22nd and 23rd of November 1876. This includes the itinerary of stations, times of arrival and departure, arrangements for telegraphing the train, arrangement of carriages, and precautions to be taken in the event of fog. Also included is a special notice announcing the postponement of the journey until the afternoon of the 23rd. The Queen returned to Windsor amid the rising tension between the great powers over the 'Eastern Question'. Apparently the Queen had at one time thought of leaving on the 17th, but floods below Perth had washed away bridges. The time to repair the tracks may account for the subsequent delaying of the journey.
  • Grant, James. Bothwell or the days of Mary Queen of Scots. London, [ca. 1870?].
    Grant, James. The Duke of Albany's own Highlanders. London, [1881].
    Stevenson, R.L. New Arabian nights. London, 1885.
    • These three popular novels, commonly called 'yellow-backs', are representative of the way in which cheap fiction was marketed in the latter half of the nineteenth century. It was a form of publication which developed from the late 1840s and competed with the 'penny dreadful' as a source of entertaining reading. Routledge, with its 'Railway Library', was the first of many publishers to target an expanding reading public with such distinctive and graphically illustrated covers.
  • Froude, James Anthony. Thomas Carlyle: a history of the first forty years of his life 1795-1835. London, 1882.
    Froude, James Anthony. Thomas Carlyle: a history of his life in London 1834-1881. London, 1885.
    • Part of the private library of the London bookseller William Foyle, these volumes have been enhanced with the addition of over 400 illustrations, including etchings, engravings and photographs of people and places associated with Carlyle. Also included are three autograph letters from 'the sage of Chelsea' himself. The Library holds copies of these works with annotations and corrections by Alexander Carlyle, the author's nephew. James Anthony Froude, Carlyle's literary executor, maintained that his biography was 'no "Life", but only the materials for a "Life"'. This biography was not simply an exercise in hagiography - Froude refused to overlook Carlyle's well-known defects of character.
  • Berlioz, Hector. Benvenuto Cellini. Partition orchestre. Paris [1886].
    • A very rare copy of the first edition of this opera in full score, and an addition to the Hopkinson Berlioz collection.
  • Sella, Vittorio. [Photographs of the Alps and Himalayas.]
    • This collection of twenty-three photographic views of the Alps and the Himalayas is an important addition to the library's holdings of mountain photographs in the Graham Brown and Bullock Workman collections. They were taken by Vittorio Sella during the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. Sella (1859-1943) was regarded by contemporaries as the finest mountain photographer of his day and his reputation has scarcely diminished since. As well as being a photographer he was an accomplished climber - he made the first winter traverses of both Mt. Blanc and the Matterhorn and he accompanied the Duke of the Abruzzi on several of the latter's pioneering climbing expeditions.
  • Stevenson, R.L. A child's garden of verses. New York, 1905.
    Stevenson, R.L. A child's garden of verses. Philadelphia, 1919.
    • These two illustrated American editions of Robert Louis Stevenson's popular collection of sixty-four poems for children, add to the Library's collection of Stevenson's works. Each edition was illustrated by American women illustrators: Bessie Collins Pease (1905) and Maria Louisa Kirk (1919). Stevenson's work was the first book illustrated by Pease (1876-1960). She was a popular illustrator during the first quarter of the twentieth century, best known for her drawings of 'innocent' children during the so-called golden age of illustration. Maria Kirk (1860-193-?) illustrated over fifty children's classics also during the early decades of the century. This edition is not listed in the published catalogue of the great Stevenson collection at the Beinecke Library, Yale University.
  • Tombazi, N. A. Account of a photographic expedition to the southern glaciers of Kangchenjunga in the Sikkim Himalaya. 1925.
    • A rare signed limited-edition work by the Indian geographer/photographer N.A. Tombazi, which will be added to the Library's Graham Brown collection. It is an account of a exploratory photographic journey from Darjeeling to the glaciers on the southern approaches to Kanchenjunga along the Indian-Nepalese frontier. It includes over fifty photographs, meteorological and topographical tables and a map. Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain, was first ascended by a British expedition in 1955.
  • Rushbrook, Alfred Henry. Collection of photographs of the south side of Edinburgh. [Edinburgh, 1929.]
    • These 138 silver gelatin prints form an invaluable record of the St. Leonards area of Edinburgh, largely swept away by slum clearance programmes. The photographer, Alfred Rushbrook, was commissioned by the City of Edinburgh Improvement Trust to record this area prior to its redevelopment. The photographs are part of the same photographic tradition as Thomas Annan and Archibald Burns, who both worked on similar civic projects in Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively during the late nineteenth century. Most of the images record the buildings and street life of the city and are fascinating for recording contemporary shop front design and advertising hoardings. Rushbrook worked as a photographer in Edinburgh from about 1900 to the late 1930s and when these pictures were taken he was working out of 92-96 Nicolson Street.
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis. The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Paris, 1994.
    • Like most artists' books, this effort provokes a reaction from the viewer or reader. The conceit is simple enough: the central duality between the eponymous characters in Stevenson's story is transferred to the suite of ten copper engravings by Didier Mutel that map the change from Jekyll into Hyde. In the text the duality is explored through the use of type of different sizes, and with the increase in point size of the pronoun 'I' to illustrate the gradual domination of Hyde in the relationship. Finally, the typography is employed to show the fatal predominance of Hyde's personality. One of a limited edition of 61, this copy is number 37 signed by the artist.
  • The United States Army in World War I. [Washington, D.C.]: US Army Center of Military History, 1998.
    • A collection, on three CD-ROM discs, bringing together for the first time as a single resource all the works on World War I published by the US Army Center of Military History, featuring source documents, commentaries and artworks. Of particular note is the classic 18-volume United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919.
  • Boccaccio visualizzato. A cura di Vittore Branca. 3v. Turin: Einaudi, 1999.
    • A monumental work, the result of more than ten years' research by an international team of experts, examining in depth the iconography of the works of Boccaccio.
  • Brìgh an Òrain = a story in every song. The songs and tales of Lauchie MacLellan. Translated and edited by John Shaw. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2000.
    • A testament to the continued strength of Scottish Gaelic culture in Nova Scotia, this biography of Lauchie MacLellan and translation of his songs was produced by John Shaw of the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh.
  • Fitzgerald, F Scott. Trimalchio. [Columbia, SC]: University of South Carolina Press in co-operation with the Thomas Cooper Library, 2000.
    • A facsimile edition of the only extant set of unrevised galley proofs for an early unpublished version of what eventually became The Great Gatsby.
  • Bachaus, Theodore. The booksellers of San Serriffe. San Serriffe Publishing Company [i.e Newtown, PA: Bird & Bull Press], 2001.
    • One of the many titles held by the Library from the private Bird & Bull Press and an example of humour applied to the book trade. The author, whose real name is Henry Morris, sustains an account of bookselling in the imaginary country of San Serriffe. The present work follows the earlier Private Presses of San Serriffe, also held by the Library.

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