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 840 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 rarebooks@nls.uk

      

 

Important Acquisitions 61 to 75 of 840:

Ordered by date acquired
Order by author | Order by title
AuthorNiel Douglas
TitleSlander retorted or L-r's thanks
ImprintGreenock: N. Douglas
Date of Publication1803
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn early, unrecorded, example of Greenock printing. The work is a polemic by Niel Douglas (1750-1823), an outspoken poet and minister of the Relief church, defending himself against his critics, in particular Kenneth Bayne (d. 1821), minister of the Gaelic chapel in Greenock (Douglas himself was a fluent speaker of Gaelic). The work which was printed by and for Douglas ends with a poem "A whip for the bigot". It is not surprising that Douglas moved to Glasgow in 1805, having outstayed his welcome in Greenock.
ShelfmarkAB.2.215.23
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on28/08/15
AuthorJohn Newton
TitleLetters and Sermons
ImprintEdinburgh: Murray & Cochrane
Date of Publication1798
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a 9-volume set, printed in Edinburgh, of the works of John Newton (1725-1807), a slave trader who became a Church of England clergyman. Newton left the slave trade in 1755, and, having already found religion, he became a leading figure in the evangelical wing of the CofE. He is best known now for his collection of 'Olney Hymns' written in collaboration with William Cowper, which included the famous hymn "Amazing Grace". In his latter years he became an important ally of William Wilberforce and the abolitionist movement. This particular set has a Scottish provenance, having belonged to the Harray and Sandwick Free Church library on Orkney.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.100-108
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on31/07/15
AuthorAnon
TitleAddress by the principal native gentlemen and other inhabitants of Bombay to Sir Charles Forbes, Baronet, on the occasion of erecting a statue of him at Bombay.
ImprintLondon: James Madden
Date of Publication1840?
LanguageEnglish
NotesSir Charles Forbes (1773-1849) was a Scottish politician who had worked in his youth in India in the family firm of Forbes & Co. in Bombay, ending up as head of the firm. On returning Britain he continued to take an interest in India as a member of Parliament. He sponsored charitable work in India, especially improving the Bengal water supply. A statue of him was placed in the town hall of Bombay in 1839, paid for by public subscription. This work commemorates his services to the commercial development of the country and the improvement in the living standards of the local people. Bound with the work is an unrecorded Gaelic pamphlet by Donald Macpherson, "Marb-Rann air Sir Tearlach Foirbeis Jar-Bharan" London, [1849] [An elegy on the death of Sir Charles Forbes, Baronet, paraphrased from the Gaelic, by the author].
ShelfmarkAB.9.215.05(1-2)
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on26/06/15
AuthorJohn Wilson
TitleMusalmani din ka Raddi: or Refutation of Muhammadism, in Hindustani. 2nd edition.
ImprintBombay : [Bombay] Tract and Book Society
Date of Publication1840
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn Wilson (1804-1875), Scottish missionary and orientalist, studied linguistics, medicine and theology in Edinburgh in preparation for missionary life and mastered the Gujarati, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Hindi, Persion, Arabic and Zend languages. In 1829, a year after graduating, he and his wife went to Bombay as missionaries. There they established a series of successful schools for both boys and girls, secured a printing press by an arrangement with the Bombay Tract and Book Society, and entered into public discussions with Hindu Brahmans, and with Muslims and Parsees. This controversialist work, lithographically printed in the Urdu language, was part of his attempts to convert local people to Christianity. It was first published in 1834 by the Bombay Tract and Book Society and an edition in Persian was also printed, presumably aimed at the Parsee community. Despite his proselytising mission Wilson was also indefatigable collector of oriental manuscripts who sought to preserve Indian historical monuments.
ShelfmarkAP.1.215.21
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on19/06/15
AuthorDaniel Ritchie ed.
TitleThe voice of our exiles or Stray leaves from a convict ship.
ImprintEdinburgh: John Menzies ; London W. S. Orr & Co.
Date of Publication1864
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis work is based on a journal set up on board a convict ship the 'Peston Bomanjee' on a journey to Van Diemen's land (Tasmania) in 1852. The journal ran for 14 weekly issues between 25 April to 28 July and was edited by the Scottish naval surgeon Daniel Ritchie (1816-1865), who had been appointed surgeon superintendent to the 'Peston Bomajee' in that year. Ritchie was a strong believer in the rehabilitation of convicts through discipline and tutoring so that they could eventually become useful members of society, pointing out the financial and social benefits of educating convicts in the introduction to "Voice of our exiles". The long voyage to Van Diemen's Land gave him an opportunity to put his principles into practice by getting the convicts to contribute essays, poems and articles for his ad hoc journal. The articles covered a wide range of topic, including moral ones 'On sin', 'On Swearing' and 'Our gratitude to our Creator' as well as practical tips for surviving life 'down under' with some accounts of travel in Tasmania itself. Each issue was concluded with a weekly record by Ritchie which summarised the events of the previous week on board the ship. The journal no doubt helped to alleviate the tedium of the journey for the officers and 291 convicts on the ship and Ritchie felt its content was of sufficient interest to turn into a publication two years later, presumably to send to friends and fellow advocates of rehabilitation of convicts. This particular copy is a presentation copy from Ritchie to Sir Baldwin Wake Walker (1802-1876), a distinguished naval commander, who in 1854 was serving as Surveyor of the Navy. Ritchie would go on to serve in another convict ship before settling in Australia in 1857. He died in Edinburgh, while on a visit back to his native Scotland.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2917
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on15/05/15
AuthorEdinburgh (Scotland) Town Council
TitleNotice. The Magistrates, in consequence of a complaint by the possessors of shops between the North Bridge and the Stamp Office Close ? hereby give notice ... Given at Edinburgh, this 4th day of March 1814 years.
Imprint[Edinburgh] : Alex Smellie
Date of Publication[1814]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis broadside outlines the regulations affecting street sellers and casual vendors in Edinburgh in response to complaints from shopkeepers in Edinburgh's Old Town. The shopkeepers on the High Street in the area between the North Bridge and the Stamp Office Close were concerned that the pavement in front of their shops was being obstructed by "the number of carts, creels, stands, &c. placed there without any authority". The Edinburgh magistrates therefore decreed that "from and after this date, no stands or creels will be allowed to be placed on the street ... No carts bringing in vegetables, or fish of any kind, will be permitted to remain there after eight o'clock in the morning ... Nor will those exposing gingerbread for sale be allowed to stand on that part of the pavement between the South Bridge and the head of Niddry Street". The broadside warns those flouting these regulations that they would have their goods seized by police officers. Despite this attempt to gentrify part of the High Street, street vendors would continue to be a major presence in Edinburgh's Old Town throughout the 19th century and early 20th century. Gingerbread was a popular street food, particularly at Halloween and during the winter months. William Tennant's mock-heroic poem "Anster fair", first published in 1812, which describes the annual fair held in Anstruther in Fife in 16th-century Scotland, mentions the "market-maids, and apron'd wives that bring their gingerbread in baskets to the fair".
ShelfmarkAP.7.215.04
Acquired on15/05/15
Author[Anon]
TitleItinerary of the Lord Chancellor Broggam and Broomstick.
ImprintEdinburgh: Andrew Shortrede
Date of Publication[1834?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a spoof diary making fun of the prominent whig politician Lord Brougham 'Lord Chancellor Broggam' (1778-1868) and his five-week tour of Scotland in the summer of 1834 when he made speeches in Edinburgh, Inverness, Perth, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee. Written as a first-person account of Brougham's stay in his native Scotland, the anonymous author mocks the politics of the Scottish lawyer turned Westminster-fixer Brougham and his overbearing manner. A typical diary entry reads: "September 6. Met the lang-tongued clam'rous fouk o'Aberdeen-awa, and eat of their fine finnan haddocks. It was here that I displayed one of the completest specimens of my noted knack at eating my own words with unmoved impunity. I put out all my strength to convince the burghers of Aberdeen of my republican bias; because, it is well known, that the landholders of the county are amongst the most attached in Scotland to the monarchical form of government ...". Brougham's tour was part a campaign to preserve his political career and status as kingmaker within the whig party, but his efforts were to have the opposite effect, with his career as a politician effectively over by the end of 1834. "His behaviour throughout 1834 was in many ways bizarre. In the summer he went on a tour of Scotland, where he played to the gallery in a series of speeches which enhanced his popularity but offended his political peers (particularly when he upstaged [Earl] Grey and insulted [the Earl of] Durham at a dinner in Edinburgh) and outraged the king, who was not amused by reports of high jinks with the great seal, nor with the chancellor's portraying himself as the king's representative. Many began to comment that the often dishevelled-looking Brougham was not entirely of sound mind" (ODNB). This pamphlet is perhaps an offshoot of a newspaper campaign in the summer and autumn of that year, led by The Times and supported by King William IV's advisers, against Brougham. The campaign sought to discredit him and to imply that he was unfit for the office of Lord Chancellor by having chosen to leave London for five weeks.
ShelfmarkAP.1.215.20
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on15/05/15
AuthorAnthony Trollope
TitleLinda Tressell
ImprintEdinburgh: William Blackwood
Date of Publication[1880?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis novel written by Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) is a tale or star-crossed lovers and religious fanaticism set in the German city of Nuremberg. First serialized in Blackwood's Magazine in 1867-1868, a two-volume edition was published by Blackwood in 1868, but sold very poorly. The publishers bound up the unsold sheets of the first edition and reissued them as this single volume in c. 1879/1880, but again without any commercial success, making this issue something of a rarity.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.79
Acquired on15/05/15
AuthorAnon
TitleThe history and love adventures of Roswal and Lillian
ImprintGlasgow: J. & M. Robertson
Date of Publication1788
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded Glasgow printing of a Scottish verse romance "Roswal and Lillian". The tale appears to be medieval in origin, and concerns Roswal(l) a prince of Naples who is forced into exile by his father, but who eventually finds love in his new home and marries the king's daughter Lillian. Sir Walter Scott records hearing the song sung in his youth in Edinburgh sung by an old person wandering through the streets. The first recorded printing of the work was in Edinburgh in 1663, there are then four recorded editions in the second half of the 18th century, printed in Newcastle and Edinburgh. The printers of this Glasgow edition, James and Matthew Robertson, were two of the principal printers of chapbooks in Scotland from 1782 onwards. From at least 1777 they were publishing children's books, most of which are reprints of titles published by John Newbery of London. They also imported them from England.
ShelfmarkAP.1.215.14
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes, Scottish Book Trade Index
Acquired on06/03/15
Author[John Law]
TitleLettres patentes du roy : portant privilege au Sieur Law & sa Compagnie d'establir une Banque generale.
ImprintParis :Chez la Veuve de Franc¸ois Muguet
Date of Publication1716
LanguageFrance
NotesThis is the first letter patent issued on 2 May 1716 on behalf of King Louis XV of France, authorising the Scottish financier John Law (1671-1729) to found a general bank in France. Law is one of the most colourful and notorious figures in Scottish history. In the early 1690s he moved to England to make his fortune. Using his superior knowledge of mathematics and probability theory, he spent his time 'gaming and sharping'. His career as a gambler was, perhaps inevitably, fraught with risk; in 1692 he was forced to sell his rights of inheritance to his late father's estate of Lauriston, a few miles west of Edinburgh, to his mother. In April 1694 he killed a man in a duel over the affections of a woman. He was convicted of murder at the Old Bailey in London and sentenced to death, but managed to escape from prison and fled to the Continent. Law then travelled widely in Western Europe, where he gained a reputation as a financial expert who was able to support himself through speculating in currency markets in France and the Netherlands. He also developed his theories of the advantages of establishing a national land bank, and of expanding the money supply to increase national output, by issuing banknotes backed by land, gold, or silver. Law tried, without success, to sell his ideas of a bank for national finance and a state company for commerce to the rulers of various countries in the early 1700s. He settled in France in 1713 and lobbied Louis XIV and his finance minister, Nicolas Desmarets, to form a national bank. His plan was initially favourably received, but rejected shortly before the king's death in September 1715. However, the old king's death proved to be stroke of fortune which transformed Law's career. Louis's successor, his great-grandson Louis XV, was only a child of five, so France was then governed by a regency council, presided over by Philippe, duke of Orleans, the late king's nephew and son-in-law. The duke of Orleans, as a regent, was a bold leader; he was dedicated to reforming the policies of the late king and to restoring the finances of France, which were in a very poor state thanks to Louis XIV embroiling France in a series of expensive wars. The resultant shortage of precious metals had also led to a shortage of coins in circulation, which in turn limited the production of new coins. As a fellow gambler, the duke of Orleans was particularly interested in Law's plan for a bank as a way of dealing with the national debt. He agreed to the foundation of a 'banque generale' (General Bank), with the authority to issue banknotes. A further letter patent was issued on 20 May, stipulating the regulations for the operation of the General Bank. The bank proved to be popular and profitable within a short time, which encouraged Law to think on a bigger scale. In 1717 he set up the Compagnie d'Occident (formerly known as the Mississippi Company), which consolidated existing French trading companies who had control of the ports and islands of Louisiana, and a monopoly on the beaver trade in Canada. The company was strongly connected to the bank from the start, and in December 1718, to reflect its enhanced status, the Banque Generale became the Banque Royale, with Law appointed as director. In May 1719 Law added the struggling French East India and China companies to his own, and renamed the new company, the Compagnie des Indes. From being a simple trading company, the Compagnie des Indes took over the collection of indirect taxes in France and redemption of the debt; it had in effect become a giant holding company controlling almost the entire revenue-raising system in France, the national debt, the overseas companies, the mint, as well as the note-issuing bank. The rise of the company led to Law gaining a prominent role in the government of France; by May 1720 he was effectively chief minister and minister of finance in France. However, the rapid expansion of Law's company led to boom and bust, with its shares being the subject of wild speculation on the French stock market, as adventurers and aristocratic gamblers from all over Europe bought and sold shares at vastly inflated prices. The Banque Royale was declared bankrupt in October 1720, having already temporarily closed in May of that year, and the share price of the Compagnie des Indes collapsed. Law lost his own personal fortune and in December he had to resign from his ministerial posts. He went into exile abroad, living for a brief spell in England. The death of the duke of Orleans in 1723 put an end to his hopes of ever returning to France. He died in Venice in poverty.
ShelfmarkRB.m.759
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National biography
Acquired on06/03/15
AuthorFriedrich Eberhard Rambach & Ludwig Tieck
TitleDie eiserne Maske. Eine schottische Geschichte von Ottokar Sturm.
ImprintLeipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth
Date of Publication1792
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the first (and only contemporary) edition of a very rare Gothic novel, "Die eiserne Maske"("The iron mask") by the Berlin schoolmaster Friedrich Rambach (1767?1826), writing under the pseudonym of Ottakar Sturm. Rambach was "a prolific writer of medieval adventures and horror stories and plays" ("Oxford Companion to German Literature"). Among his pupils was the 18-year-old Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853), later to find fame as a poet and translator and as one of the founders of the Romantic movement in German literature in the late 18th and early 19th century. Tieck contributed at least two Ossianic poems to the text of the novel, which were his first published poems and effectively his first literary translations from English. He also wrote a chapter and a half at the end of the novel(the text later published as a stand-alone piece, 'Ryno', in the "Nachgelassene Schriften", 1855). The novel itself is inspired by Friedrich Schiller's play "Die Raeuber" ("The Robbers"), which was first published in 1781. Rambach transplants the action to the medieval Scottish Highlands. The characters are all given Ossianic names such as Dunkan, Malwina, Carno, Toskar, Linuf and Dunchomar, and the author revels in bleak and chilling imagery and depicting the barren landscapes of the Highlands. The two main characters of the novel are the feuding brothers, Carno and Ryno, the sons of Tondal, who are in love with Malwina, the daughter of Toskar. She has promised that she will be given to the one who proves himself the braver, either the noble and brave Carno or the spiteful and sinister Ryno. Tieck's contribution to the novel was part of the seventh chapter and the whole of the following final one, in which his task was to depict Ryno's growing shame for his cruelty towards his brother, and the ensuing destruction he brings upon himself. Although "Die eiserne Maske" was reprinted as recently as in 1984, it has never appeared in English.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.67
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on06/03/15
Author[John Hood]
TitleThe letters of Zariora and Randale
ImprintEdinburgh : Walker and Greig
Date of Publication1814
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded, anonymous novel by a Scottish author. A contemporary MS note on the half title of this copy states 'Written by John Hood of Stoneridge A.D. 1813'. 'Stoneridge' refers to Stoneridge, or Stainrigg, House near Coldstream in the Scottish Borders. John Hood (1795-1878) was a local landowner. In 1841-1842 he travelled to Australia to visit his oldest son, and his account of his journey was published in 1843 under the title "Australia and the East". "The letters of Zariora and Randale" is an epistolary novel which would appear to be a youthful literary experiment of the 18-year-old Hood, presumably printed at the author's own expense. The novel is set in contemporary Spain and is moral tale about the dangers of excessive passion, in this case Randale's doomed love for a young woman Maria. The young Scot, the 'Chevalier Charles Randale', when living in Spain writes to his friend 'Mr. Zariora' of his love for Maria, the daughter of the Baron Lariana. When she suddenly dies he is overcome with grief and Zariora visits him in Spain, reporting his adventures to another friend 'Kalthander'. The novel closes with Zariora writing to Kalthander that his friend Randale refuses to leave the home of his dead lover and return to Scotland; he concludes "I fear that this dear man's emaciated form and disordered mind speak a quick decay". This copy appears to have been censored, as some lines have been ruled out to the point of illegibility on the title page, and a number of words throughout the text have been carefully removed by scraping away the surface of the paper. Pages 29-30 are also missing from this copy.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.58
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on27/02/15
AuthorRobert Burns
TitleThe works of Robert Burns
ImprintPhiladelphia: Rudd and Bartram
Date of Publication1801
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe first collected American edition of Burns's poems, published in Philadelphia the place where Burns poems first appeared in print in the USA in the "Pennsylvania Packet" newspaper between 1787 and 1788. Two editions of "Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect" had also been printed in the city in 1788 and 1798, evidence of the interest in Burns among the American public and the influence of ex-pat Scots in what was then the USA's printing and cultural centre. The Philadelphia 1801 edition is almost a page for page reprint of the Liverpool edition of 1800, the first collected edition of Burns's works, edited by the Liverpool physician, Dr James Currie. The Liverpool edition was conceived by the friends of the dead poet as 'memorial to his genius' and primarily as a means of raising funds for his widow and children. Currie's work as an editor has long been criticised for its omissions and inaccuracies and also for his lengthy biography of Burns in which he mentioned Burns's heavy drinking. The American edition contains an engraved frontispiece portrait of Burns in vol. 1 by the Philadelphia engraver Alexander Lawson, which is based on the famous portrait done by Alexander Nasmyth in 1787.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.40-43
Reference SourcesEgerer no. 64
Acquired on20/02/15
Author[Anon]
Title[Volume of 16 early 19th-century Scottish chapbooks, mostly printed in Kilmarnock]
ImprintScotland: s.n.
Date of Publication[1815-1820]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis volume contains 16 rare Scottish chapbooks, 15 of which are printed in Kilmarnock and one in Ayr (no. 16). It includes 4 unrecorded Kilmarnock printings (nos 3, 6, 7 and 12 in the volume). The chapbooks all contain versions of popular ballads and songs of the period. The volume is in a 19th-century half-leather binding by Henderson and Bisset of Edinburgh and all the chapbooks have been interleaved with laid paper. There are no visible marks of provenance in the volume.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.52(1-16)
Acquired on20/02/15
AuthorScotus, Michael.
TitlePhisionomia Magistri Michaelius Scoti.
ImprintParis: Renault Chaudiere
Date of Publication[c. 1527]
LanguageLatin
NotesAn early edition of Michael Scotus's "Liber physiognomiae": first printed in 1477. Despite its title, the true concern of Scotus work lies in more of an Aristotles Masterpiece vein, reflecting on physiognomys relation to intercourse, pregnancy, and embryology. The text is related to another medieval work, On the Secrets of Women, attributed to Pseudo-Albertus Magnus, but in fact drawing on Scotus. Most of what appears as book I in the printed editions contains a detailed treatise on generation of human beings, with anatomical and physiological descriptions, information on the best time for conception, on sexual behavior, and on the state of the fetus during each of the nine months after conception. The rest of book I deals with differences between genera and species of animals. Books II and III contain the Physiognomia proper (apart from some chapters on dreams and auguries from sneezes). In these a systematic survey of the different parts of the body, in connection with the basic or other qualities affecting them, is meant to show how souls are intrinsically dependent for their natures on the bodies that they inhabit: 'animae sequuntur corpus'" (Dictionary of Scientific Biography). Born in Scotland (at Balwearie, according to Sir Walter Scott), Michael Scotus (ca. 1175-1234) was educated in England but spent most of his life in Italy and Spain. The legend which grew up around the name of Michael Scot was due to his extraordinary reputation as a scholar and an adept in the secret arts. He figures as a magician in Dante's "Inferno" in Boccaccio's "Decamerone", in local Italian and Scottish folk-lore, and in Sir Walter Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel (Catholic Encylopedia).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2912
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Universal Short Title Catalogue
Acquired on13/02/15
Important Acquisitions - page no. 1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     27     28     29     30     31     32     33     34     35     36     37     38     39     40     41     42     43     44     45     46     47     48     49     50     51     52     53     54     55     56