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 735 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.
Please let us know what you think of this resource, if you have information to add about an acquisition, or if you have rare Scottish books that you would like to donate or sell. Email us at email@example.com
Important Acquisitions 331 to 345 of 735:
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|Title||Inaugural ceremonies in honour of the opening of Fountain Gardens, Paisley ... Published under the patronage and by authority of the Provost, Magistrates and Town Council.|
|Imprint||Paisley: J & J. Cook|
|Date of Publication||1868|
|Notes||Folio, , 92
This limited, imperial edition of 40 copies was 'published by request of a few gentlemen who wished to have a special edition de luxe'. There was also an edition for the general public and a 'drawing room' edition for subscribers. The book is dedicated to Thomas Coats, a local cotton manufacturer, who purchased the grounds for £20,000 and donated them to the town of Paisley. The gardens were designed by the Glasgow landscape architect James Niven, former assistant to Joseph Paxton at Chatsworth, and the fountains were erected by George Smith & Co. of the Sun Foundry, Glasgow. The Coates Family is indelibly bound up in the industrial history of Paisley, through their domination of cotton manufacturing output with four large mills at each corner of the town. Following the Victorian spirit of charitable works, laced with a strong Baptist belief, they endowed many buildings and gardens in Paisley during their period of Economic hegemony including the construction of the largest Baptist church in Europe (Coates Memorial Church) and the Fountain Gardens.|
|Title||Information for Ross of Auchlossin, against the possessors of the Temple-lands.|
|Date of Publication||1706?|
|Notes||This is a most curious document discussing the order of the Knights Templar in Scottish history, of which no other copies can be traced. The text is known from its appearance in 'Templaria', 1828 (shelfmark H.30.c.26): this edition seems to have used the copy we have just acquired, as the 1828 editor notes that the last page seems to be missing a few words of text. In 1828 it was stated that no other copies were known.
A dispute between Robert Ross of Auchlossin and his tenants on lands formerly held by the Templars led to the production of this document. It traces the fortunes of the order, in order to make the case that the Templars were not a religious order, and that therefore their lands were not directly annexed to the crown after the Reformation in 1587. The Lords of Session agreed that Auchlossin's case was correct.
This is a striking example of early Scottish interest in the medieval religious order, often associated with Freemasonry.
The conjectural date of 1706 is taken from a manuscript annotation on the first page.|
|Reference Sources||Fountainhall, 'Decisions', v. 2, 1761, shelfmark Nha.L74, pp. 94-5|
|Title||Inquiry into the Human Mind|
|Imprint||3rd edition, Dublin|
|Date of Publication||1779|
|Notes||This is a useful edition to the Library's holdings of Scottish Enlightenment texts. Thomas Reid (1710-1796) is known as one of the founders of the 'common sense' school of philosophy. As a minister and traditionalist, he argued that our senses give us valid and trustworthy information about a real existent world, in opposition to other, more sceptical philosophers like David Hume. The Inquiry, written while Reid was Regent at King's College, Aberdeen, and first published in 1764, is perhaps Reid's most important work. In it Reid discusses all the five senses, but pays most attention to the faculty of sight, which had been at the centre of so many philosophical and scientific debates involving Berkeley, Locke and Newton. This 'third edition' printed at Dublin is a smaller, presumably cheaper reprint of the third edition printed in London in 1769. This copy was clearly read, as there are occasional pencil markings, and the title-page shows that it had at least two owners, thus providing more evidence for the importance of Irish publishing in promoting the Scottish Enlightenment. Jessop did not see a copy while compiling his bibliography of Scottish philosophers.|
|Reference Sources||T. E. Jessop, Bibliography of David Hume, p. 164|
|Author||Steuart, James, Sir|
|Title||Inquiry into the principles of political oeconomy: being an essay on the science of domestic policy in free nations|
|Date of Publication||1767|
|Notes||This fine set of Sir James Steuart's magnum opus, is a very important addition to the Library's holdings of Scottish Enlightenment texts. In it, Steuart, according to the 'Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences', was 'the first to set out with some pretence at system the principles of economic policy and to analyze their theoretical basis'. It was completely overshadowed after 1776 by Adam Smith's Wealth of nations, and Smith did not even refer to his work. Indeed he was somewhat critical of the turgid nature of the argument, saying that 'he understood Sir James's system better from his conversation than his volumes'. Other contemporaries, particularly the philsopher Thomas Reid (1710-1796), acknowledged their indebtedness to him. Steuart's work however was rediscovered in the 19th Century by German scholars who hailed him as the real founder of economic science.
James Steuart was born in Edinburgh in 1712, entered Edinburgh University at the age of 13 and became a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1735. He adhered to the Jacobite cause and was in Paris on behalf of the Young Pretender at the time of Culloden. Although Steuart escaped being named in the Act of Oblivion, he was in exile until 1763, during which time he lived in Tübingen, Frankfurt and Venice, studying the political and military economies of Europe. He was not formally pardoned until 1771. After the publication of his Inquiry, Steuart interested himself in the recoinage question and wrote a number of treatises on politics, economics and religion. In 1773 on the death of his relative Sir Archibald Denham, he obtained the estate of Westshields and took the name of Denham.|
|Reference Sources||DNB, http://cepa.newschool.edu/het/profiles/steuart.htm|
|Title||Institutes of health.|
|Imprint||[London]. Printed for J. J. Stockdale.|
|Date of Publication||1817|
|Notes||The Scottish physician John Roberton (1776-1840) was a radical and controversial figure in the medical profession. The true extent of his medical qualifications remains in doubt. He started off as a general practitioner in Edinburgh who specialised in sexually transmitted diseases. In 1809 his first major work, advocating the founding of a medical police force, "A treatise on the medical police, and on diet, regimen, &c." was published in Edinburgh. In the same year he was expelled from the Royal Medical Society for disgraceful conduct and moved to London in 1810, where he published his most famous and controversial work on reproductive system "On diseases of the generative system" the following year. Owing to his reputation and the somewhat sensational nature of the work along with its explicit illustrations, Roberton had some difficulty in finding a publisher for the work, eventually turning to John Joseph Stockdale, who himself had something of a reputation for publishing risqué material. Stockdale guaranteed the salacious reputation of the work when over the next few years he published further editions (sometimes under the pseudonym of Thomas Little), himself interpolating still more sensational illustrations, with a fourth edition appearing in the year of the present work. Having ostracised himself from the Edinburgh medical fraternity and fallen foul of most of polite society, Roberton's published work was aimed at the general public who were not put off by poor reviews. "Institutes of health" was written with the same readership in mind and published by Stockdale, but has absolutely no salacious content. The author stresses his belief that the medical writer should be of service to the wider community and notes that the work has been divested of 'professional obscurities and unnecessary technical terms' in an effort to make it more accessible. Divided into seven chapters, Roberton warns against the dangers of excess in all areas of life, with sections on the perils of excessive drinking and eating, including a section on dangers of indulging in draught London porter and ale prepared for pot-houses (pubs) which Roberton suspects is adulterated with "other deleterious substances". He concludes with a section on the use of mercury for the treatment of liver complaints.
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes. Wikipedia.|
|Title||Institutes of moral philosophy|
|Imprint||Basle: Printed and sold by James Decker|
|Date of Publication||1800|
|Notes||This is a new edition, reprinted in enlarged form, of Ferguson's Institutes which was first published in Edinburgh in 1769, when the author was Professor of Moral Philsophy at Edinburgh University. In 1766 Ferguson had published a syllabus of his lectures, Analysis of pneumatics and moral philosophy for the use of students in the College of Edinburgh. He expanded on these in the Institutes, which is essentially an overview of his philosophical and political beliefs. The final part of the book which is entitled 'Of politics', deals with political economy and political law.
The Institutes was popular not only with Ferguson's students and the Edinburgh intelligentsia, but was, as this Basle imprint shows, much in demand abroad. It was translated into German in 1772, where the translator's Appendix was known by heart by Schiller and subsequently a Russian translation was used as a textbook in Russian universities. An edition was apparently published in Basle in 1789, but no copies have been traced. An Italian translation was published in Venice in 1790. Ferguson, who briefly held the position of Keeper of the Advocates Library, in 1757, succeeding David Hume, introduced the method of studying humankind in groups. He is regarded as the father of what is now known as sociology.|
|Author||Commissioners and Trustees for Improving Fisheries and Manufactures in Scotland|
|Title||Instructions given by the commissioners and trustees for improving the fisheries and manufactures of Scotland to [blank] wreck and cure-masters of herrings at [blank] |
|Date of Publication||[1728?]|
|Notes||The Board of Trustees for Fisheries and Manufactures was established in 1727 by an Act of Parliament of 1727 in order to "encourage and promote the fisheries or such other manufactures and improvements in Scotland as may most conduce to the general good of the United Kingdom". This broadside printed for national distribution provides a fascinating glimpse into the early 18th-century Scottish herring fishery, a major and lucrative industry for Scotland right up until the mid-20th century. It gives instructions to the local officials responsible for supervising the curing and packing of herrings. As herring is a fatty fish, it has to be cured as quickly as possible, hence the need for tight regulations regarding curing and packing. The fifteen numbered instructions give specific guidelines for all stages of the curing process, in particular regarding the cleanliness and wholesomeness of the fish, packing methods, salting, pickling with wine, the number of hoops per barrel, the dumping of fish unfit for consumption, burn-marking each barrel with appropriate identifications, keeping ledgers for records of barrel-marks and the ships used to export herrings, and inspection of freshly-caught fish. The blank spaces in the title are meant to be annotated, presumably with the names of the relevant inspectors and the areas of Scotland in which they worked. This is an extremely rare work; there are only two other known copies listed in ESTC.|
|Reference Sources||ESTC T37311|
|Author||Chambers, William and Robert|
|Title||Introduction to the science of astronomy.
Second edition, embossed by permission; for the use of the Blind.
|Imprint||Glasgow, printed, in the Asylum at the Institution Press, by John Alston, Honorary Treasurer to the Asylum; and sold by John Smith and Son, Glasgow; Smith Elder and Co., London; John Johnstone Edinburgh, and William Maccomb Belfast: |
|Date of Publication||1843|
|Notes||This is an apparently unrecorded edition of this work printed with embossed letters for the blind. The Library has a copy of the 1841 edition (shelfmark RB.s.502); a comparison of the two shows that the 1843 edition has two extra leaves because the type was reset to make it clearer. The text deals with the climate and geography of Earth as well as the solar system. There are six plates, also embossed, with diagrams and charts. The binding is rather curious. The original embossed wrapper can still be seen through the later leather binding, which has 'Science of Astronomy' rather crudely stamped in gold on the front cover. The endpapers are startling, shiny pink paper with gold stars.
John Alston (1778-1846) set up his press for raised Roman type in 1836. This copy is inscribed by him as a presentation copy to Thomas Carfrae (1802?-1854). This is a nice addition to the Library's holdings of material printed for the visually impaired, including the Royal Blind School special collection, which contains several other works produced by Alston.
|Title||Investigacion de la Naturaleza y Causas de la Riqueza de las Naciones|
|Imprint||Valladolid, ‘En la Oficina de la Vuida é Hijos de Santander'|
|Date of Publication||1794|
|Notes||Adam Smith is one of those Scottish authors who we aim to collect comprehensively, and we acquire works by or relating to Smith whenever possible.
This four volume set is the first substantially complete Spanish translation of 'The wealth of nations, printed in 1794'. It is a good set, all but the first volume bound in contemporary tree sheep. The text was translated by Josef Alfonso Ortiz from the fifth edition of 1789. Ortiz deserves credit for getting the book approved by the Spanish Inquisition, who had already banned the French translation: he only had to make a few textual changes to comply with the censors.
NLS already has a copy of the ‘much corrected and improved’ second edition, printed in 1805-6, in the Astorga Collection (G.25.h.26). According to Tribe’s bibliography, some material printed in 1794 was omitted in 1805 (the appendix in vol. II). In 1999 we acquired 'Compendio de la obra Inglesa intitulada Riqueza de las naciones'(1792), which is a partial translation of a French summary of the work (RB.s.2050). However, it is most desirable that we should add to these works the true first Spanish edition, as a landmark in Scottish economic influence in European history.
Over the last few years, Rare Books have purchased extensively in the field of the Scottish Enlightenment in translation, acquiring early editions of David Hume, William Robertson, Lord Monboddo and Hugh Blair, in a variety of languages (Italian, Dutch, German, French). We have acquired little material in Spanish or printed in Spain, which is regrettable, as we have an outstanding collection of early Spanish books in the Astorga Collection, and the purchase of modern materials in Spanish has again become a key area in our collection development. This translation bears witness to the exchange of ideas between Scotland and Spain at an early date, and its purchase allows us to fill a gap in our Smith holdings.
This is not an exceptionally rare book, with 14 copies listed in OCLC, 3 in COPAC. However, there do not appear to be any other copies in public ownership in Scotland.|
|Reference Sources||R. S. Smith, 'The first Spanish edition of The wealth of nations', in Cheng-chung Lai, ed., 'Adam Smith across Nations', 2000, pp. 342-6.
Tribe, Keith (ed.), 'A critical bibliography of Adam Smith', Pickering & Chatto, 2002|
|Title||Istoria della Sanita o sia dell' arte di ben conservarla giusta gl'insegnanti li piu interessanti additati da medici e filosofi si antichi, che moderni. |
|Imprint||Venice: Niccolo Pezzana|
|Date of Publication||1765|
|Notes||This is the first known Italian translation of The History of Health by the Scottish physician James Mackenzie (1682? - 1761), a book today most notable for its advocacy of smallpox innoculation. However, this edition suggests that to a contemporary audience the book's interest lay in its advice to the general public for a healthy lifestyle. The foreword to the Italian translation by the printer mentions an unfavourable review of the work by a 'Sig. Vandermond' in a medical journal, saying that of course a doctor would speak ill of a book which enables anyone interested in their own health to learn about the subject and to live as healthily as possible - hence not needing a doctor. This Italian translation is rare - no other copy is recorded in COPAC - but perhaps it would be more common had the foreword begun with the explanation of how the book could be useful to all, and was praised in England and France, rather than with the details of how Signore Vandermond 'criticises and shows the book to be useless'.|
|Author||Deschamps, Emile & Wailly, Gustave de.|
|Title||Ivanhoe : opera en trois actes, imite de l' anglais.|
|Imprint||Paris : Vente|
|Date of Publication||1826|
|Notes||"Ivanhoe" is probably Sir Walter Scott's most successful and enduring novel. Several musical adaptions of the work were produced in the 19th-century, the first being the opera performed in Paris in 1826. This is the first edition of the libretto by Emile Deschamps and Gabriel-Gustave de Wailly for a pasticcio created, with Rossini's permission, by Antonio Pacini as a means of introducing Rossini's music to Paris. Rossini had already written "La donna del lago" in 1819, the first Italian opera to be based on one of Scott's works, which would inspire other composers to create works based on Scott's novels. Scott was himself in Paris to see the opera, remarking: "It was superbly got up, the Norman soldiers wearing pointed helmets and what resembled much hauberks of mail, which looked very well. The number of the attendants, and the skill with which they were moved and grouped on the stage, were well worthy of notice. It was an opera, and of course the story greatly mangled [Rowena and Richard the Lionheart do not appear, for example, and Ivanhoe marries Rebecca], and the dialogue in a great part nonsense. Yet it was strange to hear anything like the words which I (then in an agony of pain with spasms in my stomach) dictated to William Laidlaw at Abbotsford, now recited in a foreign tongue, and for the amusement of a strange people" (Journal, 31 October 1826). This particular copy of the Ivanhoe libretto has the library stamp of the Chateau de la Roche-Guyon in northern France on the title page and is attractively bound in red calf with lyre-shaped gilt cornerpieces.
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes|
|Imprint||Pesten [Budapest] : Otto Wigand|
|Date of Publication||1829|
|Notes||The Library has in recent years acquired a number of early translations of the works of Sir Walter Scott printed in eastern Europe. This a rare Hungarian translation of Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe", only two other copies are recorded in the UK. It was the only Scott novel translated into Hungarian in the first half of the 19th century. It was translated by the poet and patriot Andras Thaisz (1789-1840, described by Sir John Bowring is his "The poetry of the Magyars" (London, 1830) as 'the translator of the Scottish Romances'.|
|Title||Izsledovanie celoveceskago razumenia (An Inquiry concerning human understanding).|
|Imprint||St. Petersburg: M. V. Pirozhkov|
|Date of Publication||1902|
|Notes||This 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.|
|Reference Sources||Artemieva, T. and Mikeshin, M. "Hume in Russia" in Jones, P. (ed.), The Reception of David
Hume in Europe, London & N.Y., 2005.|
|Title||Izsliedovaniia o bogatstvie narodov. |
|Imprint||Moscow: Izd. K.T. Soldatenkova,|
|Date of Publication||1895|
|Notes||This is an important addition to the National Library's collection of translations of Adam Smith's landmark work 'An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations', published in 1776. The first Russian edition appeared in the early 19th century. However this volume of selections is the only Russian edition of Smith works held by the Library.
This edition was translated by K.T. Soldatenkov who earlier in his career had connections with Russian revolutionaries in London. The book formerly was part of the collection of the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg.|
|Title||Jacobi des Andern aus Franckreich, in Gendancken nach Engeland.|
|Imprint||Coelln [Cologne]: Bey Peter Hammern, |
|Date of Publication||1696|
|Notes||The Library has one of the major collections of printed material relating to Jacobites and Jacobitism, including foreign-language works concerning the exiled Stuart court. This is an uncommon first (and only?) German-language printing of an anonymous work on James VII and II, which had first been printed in French in 1696 under the title "Histoire secrette [sic] du voyage de Jaques II a Calais pour passer en Angleterre". The book deals with the last attempt to restore James to the British throne after his exile in 1688. Early in 1696 Louis XIV of France lent ships and men to James for an invasion of England. To coincide with the arrival of the French, a rising was secretly organized by the Jacobites in England. However, as neither side would take the initiative, the murder of William III, planned by a group of Jacobites in London, was seen as a way out of the deadlock. The plot was betrayed on the eve of the murder attempt and most of the conspirators were apprehended. The assassination plot aroused enormous contemporary interest throughout Europe as evidenced by this book. By supporting the assassination attempt, James came out of the whole affair in an unflattering light. In England there was a backlash of loyalty to William and the Jacobite cause there was badly undermined. The place of publication for this book is uncertain as it appears under the 'Peter Hammer' imprint. Books in French with a 'Pierre Marteau' (French for Peter Hammer) imprint had started appearing in the 1660s. Allegedly located in the German city of Cologne the publishing house never actually existed. The fictitious imprint was used by booksellers and printers in the Netherlands, France and Germany who wanted to publish politically controversial books to avoid open identification and censorship. German-language 'Peter Hammer' books started appearing in the late 1680s. German intellectuals, who were opposed to the despotic character of the French monarchy and who supported the likes of William III in his wars against Louis XIV, used the imprint to print books such as this one, which was critical of the French monarch and of those, like the exiled King James, who were under his influence.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography