Important acquisitions

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Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 864 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 91 to 105 of 864:

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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
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
AuthorDavid Hume
TitleSaggi filosofici sull' umano intelleto
ImprintPavia: Pietro Bizzoni
Date of Publication1820
LanguageItalian
NotesThis two-volume set contains the first Italian translations of two of Hume's works, "Enquiry concerning Human Understanding" (first published in 1748)and his own brief autobiography (first published posthumously in 1777 as "The Life of David Hume, Esq.") and a further translation of his 'Dissertation on the Passions' from the "Four Dissertations". The present Italian editions though issued separately and complete in themselves were also published as volumes XIV & XV of the Collezione dei Classici Metafisici. Founded by Defendente Sacchi (1796-1840) and Luigi Rolla, this was the first Italian series devoted to classic philosophical texts and included translations of works by Descartes, Condillac, Locke, Malebranche and Kant. This copy is in the original publisher's paper wrappers and includes a frontispiece portrait of Hume in vol. 1 engraved by Luigi Rados (1773-1840).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2913-2914
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on10/02/15
AuthorElizabeth Helme
TitleSt. Clair, der Eilaender oder die Geachteten von Barra
ImprintMagdeburg : Heinrichshofen
Date of Publication1811
LanguageGerman
NotesThis the rare German-language translation of Elizabeth Helme's novel "St. Clair of the Isles; or, The outlaws of Barra" first published in English in 1803. The only other surviving copy of the German edition is recorded in the USA. Little is known of the Elizabeth Helme's life. She was born in the North East of England; she moved to the London area where she married and raised a family and also worked as a schoolmistress at a school at Brentford. To supplement her income, from the 1780s onward she wrote ten novels and translated works from French and German, as well writing didactic works for the young. She died either in 1810 or c. 1814. ""St. Clair of the Isles" is set in medieval Scotland and concerns the young outlaw St. Clair Monteith, a Robin Hood-like figure who lives on a fortress on the isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. The novel was later turned into a play in 1838 by the equally obscure dramatist Elizabeth Polack.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.69-70
Reference Sourceshttp://extra.shu.ac.uk/corvey/corinne/1Helme/BioHelme.html; http://orlando.cambridge.org/public/svPeople?person_id=helmel
Acquired on06/02/15
Author[Anon]
TitleA postehaste conveyance for S-[cottish] members
Imprint[London] : James Bretherton,
Date of Publication1784
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a satirical print by the famous caricaturist James Sayers (1748-1823) dated 20 January 1784. It shows an archetypal Scotsman in bonnet and tartan stockings, whose body is mostly enclosed in an envelope. He is being posted (in this case being hurled through the air) from Scotland to London. The envelope is addressed "To the Majority St Stephens Westmr. Free Duke or No Duke" and has been franked with the word "Free". The print is an attack on William Henry Cavendish Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1738-1809) who in April 1783 had become Prime Minister, as the figurehead of a coalition government dominated by Charles James Fox and Lord North. Portland's government was reluctantly accepted by King George III, who worked in private to undermine it. When Portland presented an ambitious bill to reform the East India Company, the King was able to influence the House of Lords to reject it. "Portland failed to rise to the daunting challenges of persuading the Lords of the merits of the India Bill and countering the king's unconstitutional interference. The duke's speeches were lacklustre, and he also contrived to bungle the management of parliamentary procedure" (ODNB). By the time this print was on sale Portland had already resigned as Prime Minister, along with Fox and North, leaving William Pitt to struggle to form a minority government. His reputation had been damaged by what his enemies regarded as his government's cynical and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to hold on to power. One of the accusations levelled at Portland was that he had created a special fund for travelling expenses in order to win the favour of Scottish MPs. Sayers's engraving thus depicts a Scottish MP travelling to Westminster to prop up Portland's regime.
ShelfmarkAP.6.215.05
Reference SourcesBM Satires 6381; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on30/01/15
AuthorBoursalt, Edme, (1638-1701)
TitleMarie Stuard, Reine d'Ecosse, Tragedie.
ImprintParis: Jean Guignard
Date of Publication1691
LanguageFrench
NotesThe first edition of this remarkable addition to the canon of French Mary studies: a hot-blooded re-imagining of the life and execution of the Queen of Scots. Thought to be the earliest surviving work to contain the wholly fictional meeting between Elizabeth I and Mary. Boursault's tragedy is able to count its place in a certain lineage of French Mary plays, beginning with Montchrestien (1601) and Regnault (1634) and extending well into the 19th century. Like its predecessors, Marie Stuard amply reflects the age in which it was written: the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1683 (the year in which Boursault's play was first performed) officially ended the toleration of Huguenots, somewhat explaining his extreme vilification of Elizabeth and his tendency to idealize Mary. Nevertheless, Paulson et al. find it to be of significant theatrical and historical value. The plot of Montchrestien's play seems relatively simple and Reganult's shows scarcely much more complexity. Boursault, utilizing a novelesque approach and profiting from the advancements in theatrical technique, presents a complex series of intrigues... Norfolk's love affair with Mary, Morray's hatred of his sister and love of Elizabeth, Newcastle's betrayal of Norfolk and the abandonment and betrayal of Elizabeth add life and interest to the play. We feel that for this reason alone, it would be interesting and rewarding for Marie Stuard to be performed by a modern repertory group, which would revive Boursault's work from an unjust oblivion. Boursault is also guilty, however, of severe historical anachronisms, the least among them the inclusion of characters killed long before Mary's execution (Norfolk and Morray). Far more glaring, however, is the entirely made-up personal meeting between Elizabeth and Mary  an episode which enjoyed an important and enduring legacy, as Paulson et al. point out.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2908
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes. M.G. Paulson, The Queens' encounter: the Mary Stuart anachronism in dramas by Diamante, Boursault, Schiller, and Donizetti, New York: Lang, 1987
Acquired on16/01/15
AuthorAnon.
TitleThe distillery of Scotland a national benefit; and the importation and use of foreign spirits, a national detriment.
ImprintAberdeen: J. Chalmers, R. Farquhar
Date of Publication1755
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis pamphlet, by an anonymous author, discusses the economics of Scottish production of spirits in the form of two letters to a friend, dated the 3rd and 22nd May. The author, who informs his friend that he was lately in Edinburgh, takes as his cue the topical theme: Whether the distillery of Scotland was a national profit or loss? He discusses the production of whisky in Scotland in relation to its annual use of 50,000 bolls of bear (i.e. barley). He also looks at the production other alcoholic spirits in England, Europe and the colonies, analysing the costs of the ingredients and profit margins of exports and imports. His argument is that cheap imports of foreign spirits are harming the production of locally-produced whisky, which was suffering from high levels of taxation, in particular after the Act of Union and the imposition of an English malt tax in 1725. The author's concerns were no doubt motivated by the fact that in Scotland there were very few licensed distilleries, prepared to pay the taxes, but hundreds of illicit stills supplying the domestic market. Only two other copies of the is pamphlet are recorded by ESTC (at the British library and Harvard).
ShelfmarkAB.2.215.06
Acquired on09/01/15
AuthorAnon
TitleNoticia e Circunstancias da Felicissima hora, em que a Senhora Rainha da Grao Bretanha deu a luz o suspirado Principe de Gales, herdeiro dos Reynos de Inglaterra, Escocia, & Irlada.
ImprintLisbon: Na Officina de Miguel Manescal
Date of Publication1688
LanguagePortuguese
NotesThis is rare Portuguese newsletter, dated 16 August 1688, which reports the birth of James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales (the Old Pretender, 1688-1766), son of the James VII/II and his second wife Mary of Modena. The pamphlet describes events relating to the birth of the Prince, the baptism, diplomatic responses and the celebrations. 4 months after the publication of this newsletter James fled London on the approach of an army led by William of Orange, never to return to his capital.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2910
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on19/12/14
AuthorRoyal Caledonian Curling Club
TitleList of skips for the Royal Caledonian Curling Club grand match to be played on Castlesemple Loch, Lochwinnoch + Railway arrangements for the Royal Caledonian Curling Club grand match.
Imprint[Glasgow?: Royal Caledonian Curling Club]
Date of Publication1876
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese two pieces of ephemera are evidence of the popularity of curling in 19th-century Scotland. They relate to a Grand Match played between the North and South sides of the Clyde in the winter of 1876-77, on Castle Semple Loch, Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire. The Grand Match was organised by The Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC), which was originally founded in 1838 as The Grand Caledonian Curling Club for the purpose "of regulating the ancient Scottish game of Curling by general laws". By 1842 the new national club had obtained royal patronage, becoming the RCCC. The RCCC promoted the game by providing medals for play between member clubs, encouraging the formation of groups of clubs into provinces so that larger bonspiels could be played, and instituting Grand Matches whereby the North of Scotland could play the South. The first Grand Match took place in Penicuik in 1847. Castle Semple Loch was first used for bonspiels in 1850, as relatively small (1.5 miles long) inland loch with a train station in the vicinity it was a handy location. The list of skips for the Match of 1876-77 reveals that the clubs represented were from both the east and west of Scotland, players coming from as far away as Hawick and Dunblane. The date of the match was not included on the list as that could be only decided once there was enough ice and of sufficient thickness to enable it to take place. In addition to the list of skips to be played, there is a separate sheet outlining the railway arrangements to transport the large number of players and spectators to Lochwinnoch station (in 1848, 680 curlers arrived in Linlithgow to play in the Grand Match as well as 5,000 spectators). The most recent Grand Match took place in 1979 on the Lake of Menteith.
ShelfmarkAP.5.215.02
Reference SourcesRoyal Caledonian Curling Club website (www.royalcaledoniancurlingclub.org)
Acquired on12/12/14
AuthorPrimmer, Jacob, (1842-1914)
TitleThe great Protestant demonstrations of 1892
Imprint[Edinburgh?]
Date of Publication[1892?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesA publication by the Church of Scotland minister and religious controversialist Jacob Primmer (1842-1914). Although educated in divinity at the University of Edinburgh, Primmer continued to educate himself by independent study and attendance at Christian Fellowship meetings, and, significantly, at the anti-popery classes instituted by John Hope (1807-1893). Primmer believed in total abstinence and sabbatarianism, and was committed to defending the principles, and often the forms and practices, of the original protestant reformers. Primmer believed his greatest achievement was the series of open-air demonstrations, or "historic conventicles", held throughout Scotland between 1888 and 1908. These were well-attended occasions, where Primmer's direct, pugnacious preaching style and bearded, prophet-like appearance were used to powerful effect. The list of demonstations for 1892 give 42 locations in Scotland with details as to the number of pamphlets given away, the number of persons present, hands held up against the resolution etc. The text is filled with anti-Catholic comments. Some of the condemnations include: the toleration of popish lotteries; the observance of popish superstitious days; the profane blessing of bells and idolatrous pulpets, and the popish archbishop and bishop of Edinburgh being invited to dine at Holyrood Palace with the moderator and other ministers of the Protestant church.
ShelfmarkAP.5.215.01
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on21/11/14
AuthorAnon.
TitleAn ode made on the welcome news of the safe arrival and kind reception of the Scottish collony [sic] at Darien in America.
ImprintEdinburgh: James Watson
Date of Publication1699
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an extremely rare broadside (ESTC records only one other copy at Brown University library in the USA) which reproduces an anonymous poem of thanksgiving for the safe arrival of the first Scottish expedition to the Bay of Darien in late 1698. The proposed Scottish colony in Darien was the brainchild of the Scottish banker William Paterson. His idea was for Scotland to gain control of the Isthmus of Darien, the narrow neck of land linking Central and South America, now part of Panama. Scotland would thus have a key role in controlling the trade of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Patersons incredibly ambitious plan was conceived as a way for Scotland to alleviate the financial crisis that had gripped the country. It had never really recovered from the civil wars of the 17th century and their aftermath; moreover, a succession of poor harvests in the 1690s had led to famine, and trade had been seriously affected by England's continual wars against Scotland's main trading partners, France and the Netherlands. In 1695 the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies was established to further the scheme. The Company initially attracted interest from the English as well as the Scots. However, the East India Company saw the scheme as a threat to their monopoly on trade, so the English Parliament quickly turned against it, forcing potential English investors to take their money elsewhere. Attempts to raise money in the Netherlands and Hamburg in 1696 and 1697 came to nothing when local investors became aware of the English Government's opposition to the scheme. The financial shortfall was made up by the Scottish people; a wide cross-section - from the nobility to merchants to town burghs pooled their resources. As a result £400,000 sterling, a significant part of the national capital, was invested in the scheme. Hundreds of people volunteered to settle the land, eager to escape the impoverishment of their native Scotland and to get a share of what they imagined would be the treasures of the New World. An expedition set sail from Leith in July 1698, with five ships carrying around 1,200 people, including William Paterson and his family. They arrived in the Bay of Darien in late October of that year. The Scots set foot on the mainland a few days later  the ode gives the date as 4 November, although modern histories now suggest 2 November. They immediately set about creating a fort (Fort St Andrew) to secure the area which was to be called New Caledonia. Plans were also made to build a settlement called New Edinburgh. On December 29, Alexander Hamilton, the accountant-general of the colony, along with other representatives from the expedition, sailed for Scotland via Jamaica on a visiting English sloop in order to bring news of the safe arrival in Darien. Hamilton finally arrived back in Edinburgh on March 25 1699, carrying sealed letters and despatches from the colony, as well as some small pieces of gold sent home by the colonists. His appearance was marked with rejoicing in the capital: gun salutes, bell-ringing and bonfires were organised in Edinburgh. The ode, presumably composed shortly after Hamilton' return, captures the feeling of wild optimism in Scotland on hearing the news that the expedition had successfully negotiated its way past English warships and braved the terrors of the Atlantic Ocean to make landfall in Central America. Thanks are given to God and "His divine pow'r" for the safe journey of the ships, for making the sea "like a level bowling plain", and for soothing the "natives savage breasts", i.e. ensuring that the local Indian peoples were not hostile to the Scots. The poet expresses the hope that Indian gold will soon alleviate Scotlands poverty, "its temporal grand disease". The ode also hints at the rising tide of resentment in Scotland against the English Parliament and King William for their decision not to allow any English American and Caribbean colonies to give any form of assistance to the colony at Darien; a decision made mainly to avoid antagonising the Spanish. The final lines express the hope that the colony would secure Scotlands "liberty from powder-plots and arbitrary tyranny". What the Scottish public did not know was that by March of 1699 the expedition had turned into a disaster. The information William Paterson had received beforehand on Darien, from the London-based former buccaneer Lionel Wafer, who had travelled extensively in the region, namely that it was a sheltered bay, with friendly Indians and rich, fertile land suitable for agriculture, proved to be utterly misleading. The area was in fact a mosquito-ridden jungle, and the Indians had little interest in the trinkets the Scots had brought with them to trade for gold; moreover, the expedition leaders were incompetent and quarrelling bitterly amongst themselves. The Spanish, who were the dominant European power in the region, were implacably hostile to the idea of a Scottish colony being established in the midst of their American territories; they would be a constant menace to the scheme. Many of the settlers, including Paterson's wife and child, were dying from disease and the extremes of the tropical climate, which led to morale further disintegrating among them. Alexander Hamilton would have been aware of some of these problems before he left Darien, but as he had been rewarded by the Company with the huge sum of 100 guineas for his safe return to Scotland, he may have felt it prudent not to dampen the excitement which was sweeping through the country. The colony was initially abandoned in June 1699, less than three months after Hamilton's return to Scotland. The delays in communication from Central America to Scotland meant that the news was only confirmed in October 1699, after a second expedition had already been sent from Scotland to aid the first one. By mid-summer 1700, even before news of the failure of the second expedition had reached Scotland, popular anger about the whole Darien scheme was at its height. The printer of the ode of thanksgiving, James Watson, found himself in trouble with the authorities for printing three works which were highly critical of the way the enterprise had been run, including George Ridpath's "Scotlands grievances relating to Darien". On May 30 Watson caused further aggravation by printing what was in effect a condensed form of Ridpath's pamphlet, a broadside titled "The people of Scotlands groans and lamentable complaints". This broadside, which does not have an imprint, stated bluntly that the political leaders of Scotland had for the last 100 years been little more than servants of England and treated their own people as enemies, never more so than now, by failing to properly support the expeditions or to stand up to the English Parliament. Watson's Jacobite sympathies were well known to the authorities and these publications, printed without license from the Privy Council, were regarded as a step too far. In June 1700 he was imprisoned in Edinburgh's Tolbooth to await trial before the Privy Council. He was briefly released from prison later that month, when news reached Edinburgh of the settlers of the second expedition launching a successful surprise attack on nearby Spanish forces at Toubacanti. The attack, which had taken place in February of that year, was wrongly thought to be a decisive victory, when in fact it only offered temporary respite from the Spanish operations to besiege the colony. The colony was abandoned for good in March, the remaining settlers having surrendered to Spanish, and the survivors were already on their way home. A triumphant mob rioted through Edinburgh on 20 June, forcing the Tolbooth gaol to be opened and the prisoners to be released. Watsons reprieve was only temporary; once order had been restored to the city he was, on 25 June, found guilty of printing libellous material and banished from Edinburgh for a year and a day. He did return to Edinburgh in 1701 and eventually established himself as Scotlands leading printer of the early 18th century, becoming one of the Kings Printers for Scotland.
ShelfmarkRB.l.285
Reference SourcesW.J. Couper, James Watson king's printer, Glasgow, 1910 (originally published in Scottish Historical Review, April, 1910); D. Wyn Evans, James Watson of Edinburgh: a bibliography of works from his press 1695-1722, Edinburgh Bibliographical Society Transactions, Volume V, pt. 2, 1982; D. Watt, The price of Scotland: Darien, union and the wealth of nations, Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2007
Acquired on31/10/14
AuthorRobert Mackenzie Johnston
TitleField memoranda for Tasmanian botanists
ImprintLaunceston [Tasmania]: Walch brothers
Date of Publication1874
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a compact field guide for Tasmanian collectors of local flora, described the author as "an arranged epitome of Hooker's Flora of Tasmania." It is intended to help amateur botanists identify plants according to their order and genera, as well as providing a list of nearly all the flowering species of Tasmania. Each page of text is interleaved with sheets ruled in two columns, headed "locality" and "remarks", allowing the botanist to add his/her own observations about the plants they find. It is bound in the original green publisher's cloth by Walch and Sons of Hobart. The author, Robert Mackenzie Johnston (1843-1918) was born the son of a crofter in Petty, Inverness-shire. As a boy he developed an interest in natural history and was influenced by the works of the Cromarty-born geologist and journalist Hugh Miller. He left home in 1859 and did a variety of jobs in Scotland as well as studying botany, geology, and chemistry in evening classes at the Anderson's University in Glasgow. In 1870 he emigrated to Australia, moving on to Tasmania, at the time a self-governing colony of the British Empire, later that year. After working as an accountant for the Launceston and Western Railway and Government Railways he was appointed Government Statistician and Registrar-General 1882. Johnston retained his interest in botany and geology, and he collected specimens widely throughout Tasmania, the island being still relatively unexplored by European settlers. 'Field memoranda for Tasmanian botanists' was his first publication, inspired, according to his introduction, by him "having felt the want of a ready means of reference in the diagnosis of our wild flowers" during his rambles in the bush. The work is dedicated to the eminent Tasmanian botanist Ronald Campbell Gunn (1808-1881), who had Scottish parents. Johnston would go on to publish widely on natural history, geology, politics and statistics.
ShelfmarkAB.1.214.67
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Dictionary of Australian Biography
Acquired on29/08/14
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