Rare Books - Important Acquisitions List All

Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 761 of the most important items we have acquired since 2000. We update it regularly as new material comes in. The description gives information about why it was chosen and what makes it particularly interesting. You can order the list by date of acquisition, author or title.

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Important Acquisitions 106 to 120 of 761:

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AuthorJohann N.C. Buchenroeder
TitleElliots Leben: nebst practischen Bemerkungen aus dessen Leben gezogen zur Bildung junger Krieger und anderer Personen vom Stande.
ImprintHamburg: Moellerische Buchhandlung
Date of Publication1783
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is a second edition of a German biography by Johann Nicolaus Carl Buchenroeder of the celebrated Scottish army officer, George Augustus Eliott, later to become first Baron Heathfield of Gibraltar (1717-1790). Eliott was born in Stobs, Roxburghshire, the seventh son of the baronet, Sir Gilbert Eliott. He studied on the continent before beginning a long and illustrious military career, seeing active service as a volunteer in the Prussian army. Eliott also served in the British army on the Continent during the War of the Austrian Succession and Seven Years War, but is now best remembered for his leadership of the British garrison of Gibraltar. He arrived as governor in 1779 and supervised the improvement of fortifications before the impending attack by French and Spanish forces. The garrison had in 1775 also been reinforced by three battalions from Hanover in Germany (King George III being king of Hanover as well). For two and a half years the 6,000 British and German troops were subject to heavy bombardment and a blockade by the French and Spanish floating batteries. The garrison managed to hold firm, despite existing on starvation rations, until the lifting of the siege in 1783. This German biography appeared in the wake of Eliott's triumph and is illustrated with six plates, four of which are folding plates which show plans/battle scenes of Gibraltar, the other two being portraits of George III and Eliott himself. (In this copy the plates have all been hand-coloured). The foreword to this second enlarged edition states that the first edition of 1,500 copies had not been deemed sufficient to meet the demands of the wider German readership, hence the publication of the second edition of 2,000 copies, which includes a poem written on behalf of 'German patriots' in praise of the 'defender of Gibraltar'. The publication of a German biography is a testament to the role the Hanoverian soldiers played in the epic defence of this strategic outpost. It also plays on the close links between the German states and the British Hanoverian monarchy, united against the common foe, France, as well as Eliott's own connection with Germany throughout his career, which is presented as a model one for young German soldiers to follow. The link between Hanover and Gibraltar was maintained by the Hanoverian army; to honour the survivors of the siege, the three battalions that served there were authorised to wear a blue cloth cuff-title embroidered with the name of Gibraltar. Even after Hanover, and its army, was assimilated by Prussia in 1866, the soldiers of the Hanoverian fusilier regiment no. 73 wore the Gibraltar cuff-title right up to the end of the 1st World War. The Gibraltar regiment served on the Western Front throughout the war, ironically fighting against British forces most of the time, with its most famous member being the author Ernst Juenger, author of war memoir "Storm of steel".
ShelfmarkAB.1.212.43
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on23/12/11
AuthorHewit, Alexander.
TitlePoems on various subjects, (English and Scotch).
ImprintBerwick-upon-Tweed: Berwick-upon-Tweed : Printed for the author, by W. Lochhead
Date of Publication1823
LanguageEnglish
NotesAlexander Hewit (1778-1850), "the Berwickshire ploughman" published three editions of his poems in Berwick-upon-Tweed, in 1798, 1807, and this edition of 1823. He was born and grew up in the village of Lintlaw a few miles north of Berwick. After service in the army during the Napoleonic Wars he returned to his native Berwickshire where he worked on local farms for the rest of his life. The poems are divided into parts: religious poems in English and secular ones in Scots. The Scots poems deal mainly with rural life. There is also a poem addressed to Sir Walter Scott, in which he contrasts Scott's brilliance as an author with the humble output of a "rustic bard" such as himself. As might be expected in a book dedicated to his patron, a local landowner, Hewit has a conservative, 'kailyard' outlook on politics; his 'Elegy to Thomas Paine' is in fact a sarcastic attack on the English author. Only two other copies of this edition are recorded in the UK, and this particular copy has an unusual provenance. It has a sturdy, plain, 20th-century leather binding. The binder's ticket reveals that it was done by the Yee Lee Company, bookbinders based in Hong Kong. The question of how the book came to be rebound in Hong Kong is answered by an ownership inscription in the book, namely Alec M. (Alexander Mackenzie) Hardie who worked as a lecturer in the English literature department of Hong Kong University in the 1950s. Hardie had been a contemporary of the 2nd World War poet Keith Douglas, both having been at Oxford in the late 1930s, where they were students of the poet and academic Edmund Blunden. They worked together on the 1940 publication "Augury: An Oxford Miscellany of Verse and Prose". Hardie's inscription records that he purchased the book, "a rarity", in 1943 for around two shillings. When Blunden was appointed as a professor at Hong Kong University in 1953, Hardie also moved out there to work and presumably took this book with him and had it rebound.
ShelfmarkAB.1.212.08
Reference SourcesW.S. Crockett, "Minstrelsy of the Merse", Paisley, 1893.
Acquired on23/12/11
AuthorHume, David.
TitleIzsledovanie celoveceskago razumenia (An Inquiry concerning human understanding).
ImprintSt. Petersburg: M. V. Pirozhkov
Date of Publication1902
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is the rare first Russian translation of Hume's "Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding", which was first published in English in 1748. In the late eighteenth century, Hume was known in Russia chiefly as a writer on law, politics and history, rather than as a philosopher. In the 19th century, however, attitudes began to change once Russian thinkers gained access to French translations of his works, French being the language of the Russian nobility whose members were the main readership of his works at the time. Almost all leading Russian thinkers of the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century showed an interest in Hume, particularly in his empiricism and his interpretation of causation. Consequently Russian translations of Hume's main philosophical works were published in the 1890s and the first decade of the 20th century. Moreover, during the social and intellectual ferment of pre-Revolutionary Russia Hume's work on the philosophy of religion was particularly in demand. Lenin may have consulted this translation when writing his own main philosophical work "Materialism and empiriocriticism", published in 1909. He discusses Hume's work in some detail, dismissing his ideas as outdated. In the post-Revolution Soviet Union, free thinking was not encouraged and Hume's philosophy, whilst regarded as being progressive for its time, did not fit in with Soviet revision of philosophical heritage. New publications and translations of Hume did not appear until the 1960s in the Krushchev era of greater cultural freedom.
ShelfmarkRB.m.705
Reference SourcesArtemieva, T. and Mikeshin, M. "Hume in Russia" in Jones, P. (ed.), The Reception of David Hume in Europe, London & N.Y., 2005.
Acquired on23/12/11
AuthorR.C.H.
TitleEdinburgh weekly miscellany.
ImprintEdinburgh: J. Elder [J. Colston]
Date of Publication1831-1832
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the second recorded copy of the complete run (14 issues) of a short-lived Edinburgh newspaper, the other complete run being in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow. The editorial to the first issue reveals that this will be a literary newspaper/periodical with a difference: 'As it is a well known fact, that many possessed of genius, and strong mental power, have, from diffidence, want of opportunity, and a thousand other obvious reasons, confined their efforts to their own solitary perusal, or, at most, to the limited circle of their private friends. To give such an opportunity of placing their productions before the public eye, a column will always be reserved in the Weekly Miscellany'. Despite these fine sentiments, the paper also relied on snippets of works taken from established authors, such as John Galt, Francis Jeffrey and Washington Irving. The "Waterloo directory of Scottish newspapers and periodicals" also notes that the paper continually stresses the evils of intemperance. Issued on a weekly basis, the 8-page long "Weekly Miscellany" appears initially to have been a success. By the time of the fifth number in December 1831 the editor refers to the 'unprecedented demand' for the publication; moreover, the list of agents selling it in Edinburgh grows considerably over the first few issues, with agents appearing in other places in central Scotland by the time issue 7 is printed. By issue 13 the publication date has shifted from Wednesday to Saturday as a result of a delay in producing a masthead (an engraving of the goddess Minerva) for the Miscellany. However, the next issue proved to be the last one, with the editor revealing that some of the agents had been less than forthcoming in paying him for the copies they had sold, leaving him unable to continue to producing the paper. At the end of this final issue is a note by the editor, asking for any unwanted copies of issues one and two, in order to make up complete sets, which were bound up with a general title page and index. This particular copy is a complete set, with a general title page which reveals that the Miscellany was 'conducted by R.C.H.'. The identity of R.C.H., who was presumably the editor and founder of the paper, is not known. The NLS copy has an inscription on the general title page: Janet Howison Craufurd Craufurdland 1833. Craufurdland castle in Ayrshire is the family seat of Howison (Houison) Craufurd family, (Winifred) Janet was a daughter of the then laird William Howison Craufurd. There is a further note in pencil on the title page stating that someone recovered this book from becoming snuff paper.
ShelfmarkAB.10.212.44
Reference SourcesWaterloo directory of Scottish newspapers and periodicals, 1800-1900 (ed. J.S. North), Waterloo, Ont., 1989, no. 2296
Acquired on23/12/11
AuthorMackenzie, Henry.
TitleThe life of William Annesly.
ImprintBennington, Vermont: Anthony Haswell
Date of Publication1796
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a very rare printing (ESTC records one other copy in the American Antiquarian Society) of a work compiled from parts of Scottish author Henry Mackenzie's novel "The man of the world". Mackenzie's second novel was first published in 1773, parts of it dealing with the character William Annesly are set in North America. Annesly is a victim of the machinations of the anti-hero of the novel, Sindall, and, after being found guilty of robbery, finds himself sentenced to transportation to the West Indies. Once there, after the death of his master, he is enlisted in the army and sent to North America. Annesly's adventures continue as he escapes from the army and lives with the Cherokees. This particular printing is done on blue paper by the second printer to operate a press in Vermont, English-born Anthony Haswell (1756-1816).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2835
Acquired on16/12/11
AuthorGeorge Reavely
TitleA medley, history, directory, and discovery of Galashiels
ImprintGalashiels: T.F. Brockie
Date of Publication1875
LanguageGalashiels: T.F. Brockie
NotesThe author of this work, George Reavely (1815-1895) was a native of Galashiels, whose life is briefly described in Robert Hall's 1898 history of the town. Reavely worked initially in local textile mills in his home town and Stow, and also ran coach services in the Borders. In a long and varied working life he also worked as an auctioneer and barman, as well as spending time in North America. A true local eccentric, he was a keen inventor in his spare time, producing a variety of contraptions, including a flying machine, which proved to be, according to Hall, "a disastrous failure". Reavely's history of the town is not drawn from research into the ancient past but from the author's own extensive personal knowledge of events and personalities of the last 100 years or so; indeed the history part is "not so much of the town and trade of Galashiels, as of incidents connected with men and things generally". The book thus contains gossipy anecdotes on local worthies as well as some criticisms on the current state of the town; Hall comments wryly that, "at public meetings George was generally to the front, advocating his peculiar ideas about things in general; the kindly feelings with which he was regarded always secured for him a good-humoured, if, at times, a somewhat demonstrative reception". It is therefore no surprise that the printer of his book, Brockie, has seen fit to include a footnote to Reavely's "Apology" at the start of the work, disclaiming any responsibility for the book's contents. In the "Apology" Reavely mentions that 12 instalments were to be printed, to then be bound into a pamphlet. He may have run out of funds to produce the intended 12 numbers, as the book ends somewhat abruptly. The book was also supposed to cover, according to the title page, "a water scheme for power, domestic, and sanitary purposes, supplementing the use of fire engines, for the year 1875". However, the water scheme is only discussed briefly in the final 2-3 pages, almost as an afterthought. The provision of fresh water was indeed something of a hot topic in the town, as at the time Galashiels was dependent on various wells for its water supply; these were often polluted and blamed for an increased death rate, with three outbreaks of cholera between the years 1849 and 1853. Moreover, the population of the town had increased rapidly in the previous 20 years due to the development of the local textile industry, placing further pressures on the existing water supply. The recently established Town Council was due to decide on a new water supply for the town so Reavely advocates in his book the construction of a reservoir using water from the Lug(g)ate Water, to the north of the town, hoping that "unlettered men" in the Council were in the minority and that the rest would see the efficacy of the scheme he was proposing. The Council had other ideas; in 1876, a year after the publication of this book, an act of parliament was passed which authorised the construction of a water supply system fed by the Caddon Water, with contracts being undertaken the following year for the construction of reservoirs, including one at Meigle Hill to the west of the town. Piped water became available in the town in 1879.
ShelfmarkAB.1.212.01
Reference SourcesRobert Hall, "History of Galashiels", Galashiels, 1898.
Acquired on16/12/11
AuthorClarke, John
TitleSentences in the Fernandian tongue.
ImprintBimbia, Western Africa: Dunfermline Press
Date of Publication1846
LanguageEnglish, Bube
NotesThis is a very rare vocabulary/phrasebook of the Bube language, compiled by a Scottish Baptist missionary, the Rev. John Clarke (1802-1879); only one other copy has been located (School of African Studies in London). Bube is a language spoken by the Bubi, a Bantu people native to the island of Bioko, known by Europeans as Fernando Po. In the early 1840s both Britain and Spain had a presence on the island, just off the coast of Cameroon, the British leasing naval bases on the island as part of their efforts to stop the slave trade in West Africa. Clarke's interest in African languages had developed in the 1830s, after he had been sent out to Jamaica by the Baptist Missionary Society of London and had encountered slaves of West African descent speaking a variety of languages and dialects. For his own personal recreation, Clarke had compiled vocabularies of these languages and passed on his interest to a young Jamaican protégé, Joseph Merrick, who became a pastor in the Baptist church. Following the emancipation of slaves in 1838, Jamaican Baptists, with support from London, decided to send a mission to West Africa to spread the Gospel to their relatives there. Clarke set off for Africa in 1840, with Dr G.K. Prince, as an advance party for the mission. In 1841 he arrived at Fernando Po, where he was able to continue his studies of the local Bube language for a few months. Suitably encouraged by the friendly reception he received on the island, he and Prince sailed to England, where they were to report on the prospects of founding a West African mission. They were, however, blown off course, ending up back in the Caribbean; this detour had the advantage of giving them the opportunity to recruit volunteers for their mission. In 1843 Clarke sailed to Fernando Po from London, via Jamaica in order to pick up his recruits. He arrived there in 1844, where Prince and Merrick and other missionaries were already established on the island. Clarke and Joseph Merrick subsequently went to mainland Africa, which remained the main goal of the Baptist mission, to continue their linguistic work. Merrick visited Bimbia on the coast of Cameroon and persuaded the king of the local Isubu people to allow the Baptists to found the Jubilee mission there. The Baptist missionaries appear to have brought a printing press along with them, or acquired one after they arrived, leading to the establishment of the Dunfermline Press in Bimbia. The press seems to have operated in Bimbia from 1846 to 1848, printing four Scripture translations by Merrick into the Isubu language and also Clarke's 16-page vocabulary, which contains a list of useful sentences and phrases in Bube with accompanying English translations. Despite Merrick's individual success, the overall Baptist mission in Cameroon was a failure. The local people were unreceptive, there were quarrels regarding inequalities between the European and Jamaican missionaries, and many of the missionaries were suffering from ill health, including Clarke. In 1847 Clarke left Africa, taking the majority of the Jamaicans home. He intended to return, but never did, travelling back to Britain in 1848 to recuperate from his illness. While he was back in England he published two works on African languages: "Specimens of dialects ... in Africa" and an "Introduction to the Fernandian Tongue". The latter is described as a second edition presumably referring to the 1846 vocabulary as the first edition. Both these works were printed in Berwick-upon-Tweed, a place where Clarke had close personal ties. He had been born near Kelso in the Scottish Borders, the son of a farm labourer, before moving to Berwick, where he joined the Baptist Church in 1823, later marrying the daughter of the local pastor, the Rev. Alexander Kirkwood. Clarke's works on the Bube language are some of the earliest works on the North West Bantu language. Although his publications were soon surpassed by those of more accomplished linguists, his pioneering efforts showed the link between the languages of the Cameroon coast and the Bantu languages of the Congo and South Africa. Clarke returned to Jamaica in 1852 where he spent the rest of his life. Before he left Britain he also published a memoir on his fellow missionary and linguist, Joseph Merrick, in 1850, the latter having died in 1849 during a voyage to England.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2831
Reference SourcesD.M. Lewis ed., The Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical biography, Oxford, 1995 v. 1; S. Arderner [biographical note in], John Clarke Specimens of dialects, Farnborough, 1972 (facsimile of 1848 publication); Mundus Jamaica and Cameroons Missionary Papers, http://www.mundus.ac.uk/cats/10/1096.htm
Acquired on09/12/11
AuthorCardinal John Henry Newman
TitleMy campaign in Ireland
ImprintAberdeen: A. King & Co.
Date of Publication1896
LanguageEnglish
NotesPosthumously published six years after Cardinal Newman's death in 1890, "My campaign in Ireland" brings together in print form some of the key papers produced by Newman and colleagues in the 1850s in their efforts to establish the first Catholic university in Ireland (which would later become University College Dublin). Newman had become involved in the campaign for a university in 1851 as the Catholic Church sought to provide an alternative to the new non-denominational Queen's Colleges in Ireland established by the British government. Over the next few years he made several trips across to Ireland, having to overcome resistance to the project among some Irish bishops and nationalists. The university was eventually founded in 1854 with Newman becoming its first rector. He eventually resigned the post in 1858, finding his dual roles of provost of the Birmingham Oratory and rector of the university to be too demanding. The book was put together by Newman's secretary, friend and literary executor, Father William Paine Neville (1824-1905), possibly as part of an attempt to defend Newman's reputation, which had come under attack in the years following his death. Although the title page mentions that this is only Part 1, no further parts were published. The book also includes a separately paginated work at end "Note on Cardinal Newman's preaching and influence at Oxford". It was printed by Arthur King & Co., printers to Aberdeen University, but was only intended for private circulation. This particular copy was formerly part of the library of St.Augustine's Abbey in Ramsgate, Kent.
ShelfmarkAB.2.212.03
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on09/12/11
AuthorJack, Gilbert.
TitleMetaphysicae seu Primae philosophicae institutiones [bound with] Institutiones physicae.
ImprintSchleusingen: Reiffenberg
Date of Publication1638
LanguageLatin
NotesThis bound volume contains two scarce early editions of works by the Scottish philosopher and physician Gilbert Jack (Jacchaeus) (1578-1628). Jack was born in Aberdeen and studied at the city's Marischal College; he went on to study on the Continent, first, from 1598, at the Lutheran University of Helmstadt and from 1601 at Herborn, where he was appointed professor extraordinarius. In 1603 he moved to the university at Leiden in the Netherlands, where he remained for the rest of his life, studying and teaching philosophy and physics. He became a friend of leading Dutch intellectuals such as Caspar Barlaeus, Hugo Grotius, and G. J. Vossius. Jack was an Aristotelian philosopher and these two textbooks were based on his interpretation of Aristotle's doctrines. "Primae philosophicae institutiones" drew on his philosophy lectures at Leiden and was first published in 1616. This particular edition was printed in the Thuringian town of Schleusingen for a publisher in the nearby university town of Jena. "Institutiones physicae" was first published in 1615, this is the third edition published in Amsterdam in 1644 by Elzevir.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2830(1-2)
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on02/12/11
AuthorJames, Prince of Wales, 1688-1766.
TitleHis Majesty's most gracious declaration. James R.
Imprint[Edinburgh? s.n.]
Date of Publication1744?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis four-page declaration by James Stuart 'The Old Pretender', "given at our court at Rome, the 23d day of December 1743", appears to be part of a charm offensive in Scotland prior to a planned Jacobite uprising. The year 1743 had brought fresh impetus to the Jacobite cause, with the French taking the opposing side to Britain in the war of Austrian Succession. English Jacobites requested a French-led invasion of Britain and Louis XV of France was actively considering an expedition to reinstate the Stuarts on the British throne. News of the French king's intentions reached the Jacobite court in Rome in late December, resulting in the drafting of this declaration for publication and display at the market crosses throughout Scotland. James professes to having "always born the most constant affection to our ancient kingdom of Scotland, from whence we derive our royal origin". He notes with concern the miseries suffered by the country due to the "foreign usurpation", and how it has been reduced to the status of a province "under the specious pretence of an union with a more powerful neighbour". Having emphasised the Scottish roots of the Stuarts, James goes on to sketch out the details of a Jacobite Scotland free from the Hanoverian kings; if not independent, then at least with some greater degree of political autonomy. He promises an amnesty for opponents of his late father and the Jacobite cause, and, perhaps mindful of his father's brief, autocratic, reign as king of Britain, he undertakes to govern Scotland constitutionally with a free parliament and to allow Protestants "free exercise of their religion". In return he asks that his Scottish subjects assist him in recovering his rights and their own liberties. James's son, Charles Edward, meanwhile, travelled to France in January 1744, but his arrival in Paris in the following month had not gone unnoticed by the British government. Although an invasion force assembled at Gravelines, near Dunkirk, on the French coast, a combination of bad weather, storm damage to the French ships, and the presence of English warships in the Channel led to Louis cancelling the planned invasion in March, much to Charles's fury. The date and place of printing for the declaration is unknown; a sympathetic Jacobite printer in Edinburgh may have produced it in early 1744 before the cancellation of the French invasion plans made it redundant for the immediate future. ESTC records just three copies of this work in the UK, none in Scotland.
ShelfmarkAP.5.212.02
Reference SourcesESTC; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on18/11/11
Author[Anon]
TitleThe puzzling cap: a choice collection of riddles
ImprintGlasgow : J. & M. Robertson
Date of Publication1784
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded early Scottish childrens book in pocket-size format with original wrappers. Childrens books of this format and age are particularly rare. It consists of 18 riddles, with woodcut vignettes illustrating each one, which are as follows: The Miser, A Dark Lanthorn, Merry Andrew, A Ship, A Bear, A Parrot, A Cock, Robin Red Breast, A Cuckow, A Tree, A Wind-Mill, A Lark, A Doll, A Cuckold, Charity, Solomon's Temple, A Monkey, A Whale, A Watch. These were presumably popular verses of the time although the modern reader may find the inclusion of a riddle about a cuckold in a children's book to be curious to say the least. Various 18th-century printings of works entitled the "Puzzling cap", sometimes attributed to 'Billy Wiseman', survive; most of them being American imprints. NLS and UCLA have imperfect copies of 1786 printing of this work by Robertson of Glasgow; there is also a much longer version of the "Puzzling cap" printed by Newbery of London, also in 1786, but nothing as early as this copy, which makes it a remarkable early survival of a Scottish children's book.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2829
Acquired on18/11/11
AuthorAssociation for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa
TitleProposals for printing by subscription ... Travels in the interior parts of Africa
Imprint[London: G. Nicol]
Date of Publication1798
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded single sheet, dated June 4th 1798, outlining the conditions for subscribing to the forthcoming publication of Mungo Park's "Travels in the interior districts of Africa". The young Scot (1771-1806) had been appointed by the Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa (African Association) to lead an expedition to 'ascertain the course, and if possible, the rise and termination' of the river Niger. Park set out for Africa in 1795 and returned home two and a half years later, having survived a series of arduous adventures in which he was able to ascertain that the river flowed inland to the east. An abridged account of his expedition was privately printed for African Association members in 1798 while Park returned to his home town of Selkirk and wrote up his notes for his planned book, which was to be published by subscription. This sheet reveals the completed book would "form one handsome volume in quarto" and would be ready "early in the ensuing season". Subscribers would pay an initial guinea for which they were likely to get the book in boards along with the engravings, but may have to pay an extra half guinea for any additional expenses in printing and engraving. They would also have their names printed. Subscriptions were to be received by the London bookseller George Nicol, who was already exhibiting a map of Park's route in his shop (the map engraved by James Rennell showed the Niger flowing eastward, but, incorrectly, also showed it petering out into an inland swamp). Park's "Travels" was published the following year and would prove to be a bestseller, going through three editions in its first year of publication.
ShelfmarkAP.5.212.01
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on18/11/11
AuthorMaty, Matthew
TitleOde sur la rebellion de MDCCXLV en Ecosse
ImprintAmsterdam: Jean Joubert
Date of Publication1746
LanguageFrench
NotesThe NLS's collections of material relating to the Jacobite uprising of 1745-46 have been enhanced by the acquisition of this very rare poem by Matthew Maty (1718-1776). The Maty family were Huguenot refugees who moved first to Holland, where Matthew was born, then, in 1740, to London. Matthew Maty practised medicine there but also contributed to various British literary publications. This short French-language poem, printed in his native Netherlands, is uncompromising in its anti-Catholic, anti-Jacobite stance. Maty describes Prince Charles as a tyrant seduced by pride "un Tiran, que l' orgueil seduit" and praises the Duke of Cumberland for 'calming the storm' and punishing the 'criminal cohorts' of the rebels. The poem is preceded by a six-page preface dedicated to 'M.L.C.D.C.', presumably My Lord [or perhaps Milord Le] Comte de Chesterfield, the fourth earl of Chesterfield, who was a keen literary patron. Maty addresses him in the preface as dear friend and almost as an equal. Maty would go on to found the "Journal Britannique" (published at the Hague from 1747 onwards) which reviewed British works for continental readers. He also earned the hatred of Samuel Johnson for his implication, in a review of Johnson's Dictionary in 1755, that Johnson had been ungrateful to the Earl of Chesterfield. From 1756 he was employed as a librarian at the British Museum, taking charge of the printed books in the royal library, gifted to the Museum by George II, and from 1772 he was Principal Librarian there. Only two copies of this poem have been traced, one at the British Library and the other at the University of Virginia.
ShelfmarkAP.3.212.01
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; bookseller's notes
Acquired on21/10/11
AuthorBurns, Robert
TitleThe jolly beggars : a cantata.
Imprint[London? : s.n.]
Date of Publication[1831]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis pamphlet published as a guide to an exhibition of eight figures by the Scottish sculptor John Greenshields (1792-1835) in illustration of Burns's poem "The jolly beggars". The sculpture was one of the best known of Greenshields's works, attracting the attention of Sir Walter Scott. The author happened to meet Greenshields in 1829, when visiting Clydesdale. Scott wrote in his journal that he had met "a man called Greenshields, a sensible, powerful-minded person", who "had at twenty-eight ... taken up the art of sculpture. ... He was desirous of engaging on Burns' Jolly Beggars, which I dissuaded. Caricature is not the object of sculpture." However, Greenshields was not to be dissuaded and when Sir Walter eventually saw the finished work he declared that the young artist had caused an old man to reinterpret a lifelong understanding of this particular Burns cantata. After exhibition in Edinburgh, the statues were transported to London for public viewing in the Quadrant, Regent Street, and later purchased by Baron Rothschild for the gardens of his property at Gunnersbury Park. The pamphlet itself is in three parts: the first part consists of the text of the poem; the second part reveals that the statues have been visited by nearly 20,000 people in Edinburgh, quotes reviews of the statues in the Edinburgh newspapers and reprints Walter Scott's article on the poem for the Quarterly Review; also included is a folded broadside titled "Jolly beggars, with the description in Burns' words", consisting of four passages from the poem which presumably relate to the sculptures. It is probable that broadside was also available separately.
ShelfmarkAP.1.212.06
Acquired on07/10/11
AuthorScott, Walter.
TitlePoema posledniago barda. [Lay of the last minstrel]
ImprintMoscow: V Universitetskoi Tipografii
Date of Publication1823
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is the rare first edition in Russian of "The Lay of the Last Minstrel", first published in English in 1805. Only one other copy has been located in western European libraries at the National Library of Finland. The publisher/translator of the prose translation was Mikhail Kachenovsky (1775-1842), professor at Moscow University and editor of the journal "Vestnik Evropy" (Herald of Europe).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2828
Acquired on07/10/11
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