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 818 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 391 to 405 of 818:
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|Title||A general view of the national police system, recommended by the Select Committee of Finance to the House of Commons.|
|Imprint||London : Printed by H. Baldwin and Son|
|Date of Publication||1799|
|Notes||Patrick Colquhoun (1745-1820), born in Dumbarton, was a magistrate and founder of the Thames police, a river police force to protect trade on the Thames. In 1796 his "Treatise on the police of the metropolis" was published anonymously, outlining the author's plan for an improved police system. In 1799 Colquhoun published this work, "A general view of the national police system", on the topic of the proposed board of police revenue. This is a first edition. ESTC lists only four other copies held in the UK.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford DNB|
|Title||Novus cursus philosophicus Scotistarum complectens universam philosophiam, rationalem, naturalem, moralem & transnaturalem?|
|Imprint||Lugduni : Sumpt. Lavr. Arnavd, et Petri Borde|
|Date of Publication||1669|
|Notes||This is a one volume compendium of the works of John Duns Scotus (1265/66-1308). Sources variously state that Scotus was born in Duns, Berwickshire, Friar Minor at Dumfries where his uncle Elias Duns was superior, or Maxton (now Littledean).
Scotus was one of the most important and influential philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages. His complex and nuanced thought, which earned him the nickname "the Subtle Doctor," left a mark on discussions of such disparate topics as the semantics of religious language, the problem of universals, divine illumination, and the nature of human freedom.
The recto of the front free endpaper has a manuscript entry in the hand of Professor Geoffrey W.S. Barrow, M.A., B.Litt., D.Litt., Hon.D.Litt. Barrow was formerly a professor in the Scottish History Department of the University of Edinburgh and the inscription indicates that the book was once in his ownership. The inscription begins: "This is a remarkable compendium of the philosophy of John Duns Scotus ... NB. There is no copy of this work listed in the catalogues of the British Library not that of the Bibl. Nat. at Paris."|
|Author||Commissioners and trustees for fisheries, manufactures and improvements in Scotland|
|Title||Directions for raising flax|
|Date of Publication||1763|
|Notes||This rare pamphlet provides practical instructions for farmers who wished to grow flax. This crop had been grown to produce linen in Scotland as early as 1000 B.C. and in the eighteenth century, the linen industry was one of the most important in the country. The Act of Union of 1707 did not immediately have the desired effect of giving linen manufacturers access to new markets. The Board of Trustees for Fisheries and Manufactures, established in 1727, tried to encourage the growth of more flax as the industry was largely dependent on imports from Holland and the Baltic. This pamphlet includes information on choosing 'lintseed' (linseed), weeding, harvesting, stacking 'winning' (winnowing), watering and grassing (drying) flax. Further revised and extended editions were published in 1772 and 1781. By 1782 it seemed that such instructions were having an effect, as Scotland became almost self-sufficient in flax. It was mainly grown in the counties of Forfar, Renfrew, Lanark, Perth and Fife, where some farms grew as many as 50 acres of flax per year. By the 1830s, flax was in decline. Hand-loom weavers in the countryside found that the power loom was reducing their profits to almost nothing. Consequently the farmers ceased to grow flax and changed over to turnips and potatoes. The only other copy of this pamphlet is held at the British Library. |
|Reference Sources||T. Bedford Franklin, A history of Scottish farming. London, 1952M.L. Parry and T.R. Slater. (eds)The making of the Scottish countryside. Montreal, 1980.Alastair J. Durie (ed.). The British Linen Company. Edinburgh, 1996.|
|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|
|Title||De duplici statu religionis apud Scotos libri duo|
|Imprint||Romae: Typis Vaticanis, M.DC.XXVIII|
|Date of Publication||1628|
|Notes||One of four items acquired from the sale of the library of the eminent historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, Lord Dacre (1914-2003), which included a substantial number of early modern Scottish items.
Inscribed on the fly-leaf: 'Ex Libris Biblioth: Presby. Drumfr. Ex dono Joan: Hutton M.D. 1714'. John Hutton began life as a herd-boy to the Episcopalian minister of Caerlaverock, Dumfriesshire, through whose generosity he was educated. He graduated as a physician at Padua, and had a lucky break when he was the first doctor on the scene after Mary of Orange fell from a horse in Holland. Gaining the favour of William and Mary, he became their first physician when they ascended to the English throne, a role he continued under Queen Anne. Hutton made generous gifts to his family and the parish of Caerlaverock, and his bequests on his death in 1712 included the gift of his library to the ministers of the presbytery of Dumfries 'to be carefully kept in that town'.
As the physician who accompanied William of Orange to the Battle of the Boyne, Hutton seems an unlikely person to have owned this book - a discussion of religion in Scotland by a prominent 17th century Scottish Catholic and friend of Charles I. George Conn (d. 1640) was educated at the Scots Colleges of Paris and Rome: by 1628 he was a Dominican friar and secretary to Cardinal Barberini, to whom this book is dedicated. In the 1630s he was papal agent at the court of Henrietta Maria, where his work for the Catholic religion aroused English opposition. Conn left England in 1639 and died soon afterwards.
This item therefore brings together two Scots from opposing sides of the religious and political spectrum of the seventeenth century. Was Hutton curious to see how a Catholic countryman described Scottish religion? Did his European travels give him a broad-minded tolerance of other doctrines? Or did his Scottish Episcopal background give him an interest in the Stuart court? One of the other items in his library, after all, was the prayer book which Charles I carried to the scaffold. Whatever the explanation may be, this item shows that the religious divide in 17th century Scotland was not so absolute as it is sometimes portrayed.
It is not known how this item travelled from Dumfries presbytery to Hugh Trevor-Roper's library. It does bear the inscription of an earlier owner, George Kellie, Trevor-Roper's book label, and a shelf-mark presumably from Hutton's library. The library of Dumfries Presbytery was transferred to the General Assembly Library in the Tolbooth Church (now The Hub) in 1880, and from there to Edinburgh University's New College Library. However, items from the collection have occasionally turned up at sales in the past.
Bought with: A bill for the better ordering of the militia forces in that part of Great-Britain called Scotland (c.1760). Possibly a draft of a bill not enacted, this item is not in ESTC. Bound with Alexander Carlyle, The question relating to a Scots militia considered. (Edinburgh: Gavin Hamilton and John Balfour, 1760) ESTC T121729. Also with Trevor-Roper's book label.
John Major: Historia Majoris Britanniae, tam Angliae quam Scotiae ... editio nova. (Edinburgh: Apud Robertum Fribarnium, 1740). A subscription edition by the Edinburgh publisher Robert Freebairn, including his receipt for the subscription of James Sinclair (d.1762) of Rosslyn. The book contains Sinclair's armorial bookplate and his crest is on the binding. Sinclair, from a notable Scottish family, was an important figure in the British army of the period, besides being an M.P.
(Also bought with George Buchanan: Alcestis/Baptistes/Franciscanus/Sphaera, which is a separate Report item)|
|Reference Sources||DNB; Bookseller's catalogue; John V. Howard (Archivist at St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, who has worked on the Dumfries Presbytery Library); New College Library|
|Author||Contant D'Orville, Andre-Guillaume|
|Title||Les fastes de Grande Bretagne, contentant tout ce qui s'est passe d'interessant dans les trois royaumes d'Angleterre, d'Ecosse, & d'Irelande?|
|Imprint||Paris: J. P Costard|
|Date of Publication||1769|
|Notes||These two volumes claim to describe 'everything interesting that happened in the three realms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, from the foundation of the monarchy until the peace of 1763. In practice, the work has a decidedly Anglocentric focus - the author explains in his preface that he decided to write about England because of the importance of its relationship with France. However, Scottish history is covered in greater detail after the Union of the Crowns in 1603. In short, this book contains an interesting 18th-century French perspective on events such as the Jacobite risings and 'the most brilliant part of Queen Anne's reign ... the union of Scotland and England'.
The author, Andre-Guilliaume Contant d'Orville, (1730-1800), wrote novels and histories, and was influenced by the historical methods of Voltaire. The volumes are in the original stiff paper wrappers, with an 18th-century armorial bookplate (possibly Swedish) inside each front cover.|
|Reference Sources||Booksellers' catalogue|
|Title||Reminiscences of pleasure trips from Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and other places in Lancashire, Yorkshire, etc. to Liverpool, Fleetwood, Blackpool, the Isle of Man, Ireland, and Scotland, in the summer of 1847|
|Date of Publication||1847|
|Notes||A rare and fascinating account of two of the earliest of Thomas Cook's organised 'pleasure trips' to Scotland. It is prefaced by Cook's 'short defence of pleasure trips' or 'rational pastimes' as the author described them, which he had first organized from Leicester in 1841. Facilitated by the expanding network of railway lines and inspired by the example of Queen Victoria, Cook launched his tours to Scotland with a somewhat accident-prone excursion in the summer of 1846. Cook also comments somewhat critically on the efforts of other tour organisers and some of their excursionists including a party of Newcastle mechanics who were found 'rolling about the streets [of Edinburgh] in a state of intemperance, co-habiting with the scum of the city'. This produced 'a very unfavourable impression of Englishmen' .
This work describes two rather more successful trips in the following year. The first trip lasted a week and brought the excursionists from Fleetwood by steamer to Ardrossan and then by train to Glasgow. The tourists visited Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow, Loch Lomond and Paisley. Making use of the recently-constructed high-level rail link from Newcastle to Berwick (and experiencing long delays), the second tour was more extensive, taking in the Highlands, Staffa and Iona as well as the afore-mentioned attractions. The tourists based themselves in Oban 'a pleasant and thriving village of 100 houses', where some of their number were rebuked by the locals for not only for laughing, but also for asking the names of the mountains on the 'Scottish sabbath'. Overall, the visitors came away with a positive impression of Scotland - the climax of the tour being 'the celebrated cave of Fingal'.|
|Author||Coultershoggle, Mungo (pseud.)|
|Imprint||New York: Collins & Hannay et al|
|Date of Publication||1825|
|Notes||This is an extraordinary acquisition, a two-volume novel published in America which has most of the dialogue in Scots. The work is extremely rare and the British Library only has a microfilm. This presumably explains why it seems to have escaped critical and literary recognition.
The unknown pseudonymous writer also wrote 'Leslie Linkfield' (1826). It seems overwhelmingly likely that he was a Scottish emigrant; the descriptions of the Scottish countryside, and the dialogue, could hardly have been written by someone who had not spent many years in Scotland. The plot is rather reminiscent of Scott's 'Redgauntlet': a naïve youth comes to discover that he is the heir of a powerful aristocratic family, which had fought for the Jacobites. The preposterously-named Goslington Shadow emerges as a hero and lover of noble blood.
In terms of literary constuction, this novel is most curious. The narrator adopts a high prose style in flowery English, full of sentimental reflections on landscape, rather like Gothic writers like Mrs. Radcliffe. The tone is frequently knowing and ironic, which can make it an irritating text to read. When the characters speak, however, the language used is serious Scots, and hard to read for a non-native speaker. The plot develops in the most meandering way, introducing numerous picaresque figures whose relevance is rarely immediately clear. I would conjecture that this novel was received in New York in 1825 with utter bafflement.
This novel would repay serious study. It seems to me that this is a major attempt at literary innovation, of real significance in the development of Scottish literature. The result is certainly not an unqualified success. Some passages are wonderful and horrible stylistic failures, so bad as to be rather good. Yet the overall wit and intelligence of the writer shine through (see, for example, the debate over the reading of 'Paradise Lost' towards the end of vol. 1). Certainly, compared to some of the examples of 'Scottish literature' currently in print, 'Goslington Shadow' has much to recommend it.|
|Author||Craig, Thomas, Sir, 1538-1608.|
|Title||D. Thomae Cragii de Riccarton, equitis, ... jus feudale, tribus libris comprehensum: ... Editio tertia, prioribus multáo emendatior. ... Accessit rerum & verborum index locupletissimus, ... Opera & studio Jacobi Baillie|
|Imprint||Edinburgi : apud Tho. & Walt. Ruddimannos, 1732.|
|Date of Publication||1732|
|Notes||Contemporary Scottish binding of red goatskin, the covers tooled in gilt with a border composed of dog-tooth roll and a thistle and floral roll and featuring a centre diamond emblem comprised of roundels and semi-circles. The spine has been rebacked thus preserving the original spine and label. The spine is divided into seven panels with gilt scroll corners, the edges of the boards and turn-ins gilt tooled with thistle and bud roll. The endpapers are floral patterned Dutch gilt.
The tooling and patterns on this copy are very similar to that found on two other Scottish bindings in the NLS collections. Bdg.s.877, also published in 1732, and Bdg.l.8, published in 1734, both feature roundels and semi-circles on red leather.
The text was first published in London in 1655 and in Leipzig in 1716. It is the first systematic work on law in Scotland.|
|Reference Sources||ESTC T144476|
|Title||History of the kingdoms of Scotland & Ireland.|
|Date of Publication||1685|
|Notes||Nathaniel Crouch who wrote under the pseudonym of R.B. ? Richard or Robert Burton, was a prolific author of books for both adults and children. He is credited with writing, editing or rewriting over 40 books during his long life (c.1632-c.1725). These included emblem books, fables, riddle books, travel narratives and histories. The simplicity of his prose style was praised by Samuel Johnson and he is regarded as one of the first authors to attempt to provide children with entertaining as opposed to purely moralistic reading matter.
Crouch had already written about the recent history of the three kingdoms as well as a more exhaustive history of England. In his preface he stated he aimed at 'plainness and brevity' in describing the history of Scotland and Ireland, with particular emphasis on the late medieval period. The book is illustrated with crude woodcuts, some of which are repeated in the text.|
|Title||Resurection [sic] men disturbed, or a guilty conscience needs no accuser.|
|Date of Publication||1794|
|Notes||This is a hand-coloured satirical etching by Scottish artist Isaac Cruikshank (1764-1811) depicting a gruesome scene of six men, one with wig and tricorn hat which may indicate that he is a doctor, caught in the act of removing corpses from graves they have just opened up. Before the Anatomy Act of 1832 body snatching, or grave robbing, was often the only means of obtaining human bodies for use in anatomical lessons in the growing number of medical schools. The practice led to relatives of a deceased person mounting a vigil beside the grave to deter the ironically-named "resurrection men". |
|Author||Cunningham, James, Captain.|
|Title||Proposals for printing, by subscription, Tartuffe: or, The holy hypocrite detected and exposed.|
|Imprint||[Edinburgh?: s.n.], |
|Date of Publication||[1764?]|
|Notes||This is a single sheet item in the form of a spoof prospectus which is referred to in a 1764 legal action entitled: 'Memorial for Mr. David Blair, minister of the Gospel and Brechin, defender, against Captain James Cunningham, defender'. David Blair (1701-1769), minister at Brechin, believing that his second wife Ann was having an adulterous affair with Captain Cunningham of Balbougie, Fife, published a story that the child recently born to his wife was not his but was fathered by Cunningham. Blair had married his second wife in 1759, his first wife having died some years previously, and is recorded as having one child with her in 1762, a daughter who lived only for a few months. Cunningham denied the charges, but admitted to publishing several satirical publications on Blair of which this is most probably one. The reference to "Tartuffe" in the title recalls the famous 17th-century French comedy by Moliere, in which the main character is a scheming hypocrite, who ostensibly and exaggeratedly feigns virtue, especially religious virtue. |
|Author||Curties, T. J. Horsley|
|Title||The Watch Tower; or, sons of Ulthona|
|Imprint||Brentford: Printed by and for P. Norbury|
|Date of Publication||1803|
|Notes||An extremely rare historical Gothic novel set in 14th-century Scotland during the wars of Robert the Bruce and Edward II. It features the fictional villain Morcar, who commits the horrid crimes of rape, murder and torture in his castle-fortress Stroma, but even worse supports the king of England. Morcar has a crane which provides the only access to the Fortress and which he uses to lower his victims into his clutches. By the end of The Watch-Tower Morcar has tortured Earl Ulthona to death, raped the sweet Imogen, shown a visitor through his hall of torture (which is full of Morcar's mutilated victims), and finally been thrown off one of his battlements by the son of another of his victims.
Of Curties's life almost nothing is known, beside the publication of his six deep-dyed Gothic novels over an eight-year period, 1799-1807, including another Scottish-influenced one, "The Scottish Legend, or, the Isle of Saint Clothair". He was a Londoner of some means, an unabashed admirer of Ann Radcliffe, and according to Montague Summers 'there is no author more Gothic, more romantic than he' (The Gothic Quest, p. 333).|
|Reference Sources||Not in NSTC
Garside and Schoewerling "The English Novel 1770-1829) v.2|
|Author||Dalbeattie Golf Club.|
|Title||The book of Dalbeattie Golf Club.|
|Imprint||Dalbeattie: Printed and published by Ivie A. Callan, |
|Date of Publication||1912|
|Notes||This is a rare early 20th-century golf publication on golf in Dumfries and Galloway. The Dalbeattie Golf Club was inaugurated at a public meeting in 1894, and a nine-hole course was created from local farmland. In 1902 a small clubhouse was erected, but proved to be inadequate to meets the needs of the growing membership. The book of Dalbeattie Golf Club, privately printed in 1912, was produced to help raise funds to improve the course and the facilities, with literary contributions from members of the club. As one author writes, "So fascinating has the game of golf now become that a holiday district without a good golf course labours under great disadvantages. A first class golf course is almost a necessity as a means of attracting visitors and, with this object in view it is desirable to have a course worthy of Dalbeattie".|
|Reference Sources||Dalbeattie Golf Club website http://www.dalbeattiegc.co.uk/index.html|
|Author||Dalhousie, James Andrew Broun Ramsay, Marquis of|
|Title||Copy of a minute by the Marquis of Dalhousie, dated February 28, 1856 reviewing his administration in India, from January 1848, to March 1856|
|Imprint||Printed by J. & H. Cox|
|Date of Publication||1856|
|Notes||This volume contains a presentation inscription on the title page to the Caledonian United Service Club by Colonel W. Geddes, C.B. It is one of the only examples extant of a review of a Governor-General's period in office from the East-India Company Period. Later reviews appear for succeeding Viceroys although their scope is often limited to the Home Department. This report covers both Foreign and Home Departments. Dalhousie's introduction suggests that this is the first example of such a report on administration, perhaps inspired because of his longer than usual tenure in India. A vast range of subjects are covered: Thuggees, tea, vaccination, female education, natural resources, the port of Singapore, the Burma war and the Sikh war.|