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 899 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 586 to 600 of 899:

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AuthorJames Connolly
TitleErin's hope. The end and the means.
ImprintRutherglen: P. Walsh
Date of Publication[1900?]
NotesThis was the first separate publication of the Irish socialist and revolutionary James Connolly (1868-1916), who was born and brought up in Edinburgh. "Erin's hope" was first published in 1896 in Dublin by the Irish Socialist Republican party, which Connolly had founded that year after moving to Ireland. The pamphlet was Connolly's first major attempt to express in print his views on the Irish question and the future of socialism. The work was republished in serial form in the "Worker's Republic", and the text reprinted several times in the USA. This cheap (2d.) Scottish printing was done by Patrick Walsh, who was working in Rutherglen, a town in South Lanarkshire, in the 1890s and early 1900s and who appears to have specialised in selling and publishing cheap reprints of pro-socialist, Irish texts. A surviving letter of his of 1911 to the famous naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace, asks permission to reprint Wallace's work "Land nationalisation" for its account of the Highland clearances and Irish land evictions. Walsh reveals that he has been selling socialist literature for the last 18 years.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on22/04/16
AuthorJames Dinwiddie
TitleSyllabus of a course of lectures on experimental philosophy
ImprintDublin: D. Graisberry
Date of Publication1782
NotesHitherto unrecorded edition of Dinwiddie's syllabus for lectures on experimental philosophy (there are other editions printed in Dumfries in 1778, and in London in 1789). James Dinwiddie (1746-1815) was born in Dumfriesshire and in 1771 became a mathematics teacher at Dumfries Academy. He went on to study at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1778. He subsequently went on a lecture tour of Scotland and, from 1779 onwards, of Ireland to pay off debts incurred during his studies. As well as lecturing on chemistry and mechanics, Dinwiddie also gave lectures on gunnery, fortification, pyrotechnics and the diving bell. This series of lectures, held in Dublin, covers what is termed 'experimental philosophy', i.e. electricity, heat, magnetism, optics, astronomy amongst other subjects. During his stay in Ireland Dinwiddie carried out experiments with diving bells and hot-air balloons and was renowned for the impressive and expensive scientific apparatus he collected. In 1792 he accompanied the British embassy to China and then stayed for a number of years in India, carrying out further scientific experiments and becoming professor in Fort William College, Calcutta.
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on12/12/06
AuthorJames Frazer
TitleThe golden bough
ImprintLondon: Macmillan
Date of Publication1890
NotesThe Scottish scholar Sir James Frazer's (1854-1941) seminal work on anthropology and comparative religion has never been out of print. This copy of the two-volume first edition belonged to another Scottish anthropologist, Major-General James Forlong, who through his study of local religions when serving in the Indian army developed his own radical theories on comparative religion. Forlong has annotated his copy with some pithy comments, but of particular interest is the very rare inserted 16-page leaflet, "Questions on the manners, customs, religion, superstitions, &c." Frazer had the leaflet printed a year or two before publication of his book and circulated it to fellow anthropologists, such as Forlong, in order to gather information from them.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on18/08/17
AuthorJames Hutchinson
TitleThe Sunyassee, an eastern tale; and other poems.
ImprintCalcutta: Baptist Mission Press
Date of Publication1838
NotesAuthor was Scottish-born James Hutchinson (1796-1870), Surgeon and Secretary to the Medical Board of the Bengal Establishment, private secretary to the President of the Council of India, who moved to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, where the preface was composed. The other works contained within, including a "Lament for Lord Byron" were, "principally written, at prior periods ... two or three of them have appeared, in the annuals, published in Calcutta." A second edition of the work appeared in Calcutta in 1840 and a third in Cape Town in 1864.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes.
Acquired on18/08/17
AuthorJames I
TitleThe Kings Maiesties speech
ImprintLondon: Robert Barker
Date of Publication1604
NotesThis is the speech which James I delivered to the House of Lords on 19 March 1604, the first day of the Parliament at Westminster, and indeed the first Parliament of his reign as King of Scotland and England. This copy has the text printed in italic type. We also hold the issue in roman type at shelfmark 1.174(1). Curiously, both issues were published by Robert Barker in the same year. It could be surmised that there was such a high demand for copies of the speech that Barker had to print on two presses at the same time and decided to print different versions for the sake of variety. There are slight spelling differences between the two editions too. The speech was certainly very popular and was published in Edinburgh as well as London.
Acquired on22/06/05
AuthorJames Maxwell
TitlePaisley Dispensary. A poem.
ImprintPaisley: printed and sold for the author
Date of Publication1786
NotesJames Maxwell (1720-1800), the self-styled 'Poet in Paisley' worked as a packman, weaver, clerk, school usher, and stone-breaker; in 1787 he was awarded a charitable allowance by the town council of Paisley, which he continued to enjoy until his death. One of the most prolific versifiers of his day, Maxwell wrote nearly 60 separate poetical pieces which had little in the way of literary merit. "Paisley dispensary" is a poem in praise of the recently-established dispensary in his home town, created through the good offices of the local rich, who were profiting from Paisley's expansion as a weaving and textile centre. John Wilson's "General View of the Agriculture of Renfrewshire" (1812) notes that the dispensary's establishment in 1786 "has been attended with very happy effects among the lower classes of industrious inhabitants of the town and suburbs. It has been uniformly supported by yearly subscriptions; and ... much distress had been alleviated, by the distribution of medicines, and the gratuitous advice of the medical practitioners in Paisley" (p. 322). A House of Recovery was added in 1805.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on21/06/13
AuthorJames Maxwell
TitleA poem descriptive of the ancient and noble seat of Hawk-head.
ImprintPaisley: printed and sold for the author
Date of Publication1786.
NotesThis is an unrecorded topographical poem by James Maxwell (1720-1800), the self-styled 'poet in Paisley'. Maxwell worked as a packman, weaver, clerk, school usher, and stone-breaker; in 1787 he was awarded a charitable allowance by the town council of Paisley, which he continued to enjoy until his death. One of the most prolific versifiers of his day, Maxwell issued nearly 60 separate poetical pieces, most of them of not particularly high quality, although his biographer in ODNB notes that he represents "the terminus of the virile strain of poetry of Calvinist pietism in eighteenth-century Scotland". This particular poem is dedicated to the Dowager Countess of Glasgow, Elizabeth (d. 1791), daughter of Lord Ross. The final leaf carries some additional lines, seemingly printed after the poem had been sent to the press, celebrating the ice house with its pineapple and strawberry ice creams, and the pigsties which produce 'charming ham'. The Hawkhead estate, situated just over two miles south east of Paisley, had descended in the Countess of Glasgow's own family and came to her as sole heiress of the Ross barony. In 1914 the house became part of a mental hospital called Hawkhead Asylum (now Leverndale Hospital) before being eventually demolished in 1953. The provenance of this copy is noteworthy. It belonged to Alexander Boswell Dun, the son of James Boswell's tutor, John Dun, as can be seen by the ownership inscription 'Boswell Dun' at the head of the title page. John Dun had been hired as tutor by the biographer's father when he came to Auchinleck in 1749, and a few years later he became minister at the local church, through the patronage of Boswell's father. Alexander Boswell Dun of Rigg was presumably named clearly in honour of the Laird who had done so much for his father.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on22/02/13
AuthorJames Miller
Title[Specimen of miniature lithographic printing by the lithographic printer James Miller of Glasgow]
ImprintGlasgow: James Miller
Date of Publication1828
NotesThis small sheet of paper (9 cm square) comprises an outer ring of text containing a list of the items printed in miniature: The Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the 133rd psalm [etc. ] ... being betwixt 2000 and 3000 letters written in the compass of a sixpence by J. Miller lithographic printer Glasgow. 1828; and an inner, sixpence-sized, circular block of text containing the aforementioned texts as well as a drawing of the Glasgow city arms in the centre. The lithographic printing process, discovered in 1798, reached Scotland in the 1810s and the first recorded lithographic printer in Scotland was in business by 1819/1820. James Miller, active in Glasgow between 1825 and 1840, was regarded as one of the best exponents of the process, known for his "consummate skill in selecting and training staff ... several of the finest lithographers in Scotland first learned their art in his establishment" (Schenk).
Reference SourcesDavid H.J. Schenck "Directory of the lithographic printers of Scotland 1820-1870" Edinburgh, 1999
Acquired on06/01/17
AuthorJames Porterfield
TitleGod's judgements against sin: or, a relation of three dreadful fires happening in the city of Edinburgh
ImprintEdinburgh: James Watson
Date of Publication1702
NotesFirst edition of a long poem taking as its main subject three major fires in Edinburgh during the years 1696 to 1701, all seen as evidence of God's displeasure with the sins of the city. The fire of 3 February 1700, which is covered in depth, was one of the most serious in Edinburgh history, destroying all of the tenement buildings on the eastern and southern side of Parliament Close. It also threatened the Advocates Library. James Stevenson, the then librarian, acted heroically in evacuating the books from the building. Unfortunately some of the books were dropped in the street during the evacuation and the Advocates made an appeal in the "Edinburgh Gazette" for any books with their ownership inscription to be returned.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on22/04/17
AuthorJames VI
TitleAne Fruitfull Meditatioun contening ane plane and facile expositioun of ye 7.8.9 and 10 versis of the 20 Chap. of the Revelatioun in forme of ane sermone
ImprintEdinburgh: Henrie Charteris
Date of Publication1588
NotesBound with John Napier of Merchiston's A Plaine Discovery of the whole Revelation of Saint Iohn: set downe in two treatises (Edinburgh: Robert Walde-grave, 1593). This volume contains two examples of 16th-century Scottish printing bound together in one volume. Both works concern the apocalyptic passages in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, commonly attributed to John the apostle. Best known for his work as a mathematician, John Napier's most widely published work was this theological work, the "Plaine Discovery". Napier adopts a strongly anti-Catholic attitude and urges his king James VI to purge the court of papists, atheists and "newtrals". In his dedication to King James, Napier refers to James's earlier "Ane fruitfull meditatioun", written in the summer of 1588 while England and Scotland prepared for the much-heralded arrival of the Spanish Armada. Although Scotland was officially neutral, for James a Spanish victory in England would have meant at best a forced public conversion to Catholicism and submission to King Philip of Spain, and at worst deposition or assassination by the powerful Scottish Catholic lords. However, the young king prevaricated on offering support to England and only wrote to Queen Elizabeth at the last minute to offer military aid. Instead he devoted himself to a writing a meditation on some selected passages of the Revelation, which is preceded by a translation in Scots of these passages. Although James only indirectly refers to the Armada, he concentrates his attack on papal authority by demonising Philip's supporter, the Pope, as an instrument of Satan, and emphasises his own position as a key opponent of national (and international) importance who can counter Satan?s ability to deceive "the nations universall". His second published work only appeared at the beginning of October as the last remnants of the Spanish fleet struggled to find their way home around the north coast of Scotland and Ireland. Although both works were written primarily for a Scottish readership, the volume has a provenance which goes back to 17th-century England. It been heavily annotated in two or three neat early 17th-century hands. Three early owners have been identified: a Robert Langley; Richard Lodge, wealthy Leeds woollen cloth merchant, builder of Red Hall, Winmoor, Shadwell, near Leeds; Ralph Thoresby, F.R.S. (1658-1725) antiquary, of Leeds, with his ink inscription "ex Libris Rad Thoresby pr 16d" at the foot of A3r of the Napier. Thoresby includes the present volume in ?A Catalogue of the Various Editions of the Bible in this Musaeum? appended to his "Ducatus Leodiensis: or, the Topography of the Ancient and Populous Town and Parish of Leedes" (London, 1715), pp. 501-14). Although the Napier edition is widely held in UK libraries (although this copy does include the first leaf which is blank apart from the printed letter 'A' and which is missing from all the National Library's existing copies), there are only four copies of "Ane Fruitfull Meditatioun", recorded in ESTC (S101073) and none of them are in Scotland. Acquired with the assistance of the Friends of the National Libraries.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on24/11/17
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleTwo Meditations of the Kings Maiestie
ImprintLondon: b. Robert Barker & Iohn Bill
Date of Publication1620
NotesDespite the rare title page, this work consists of one meditation only, A Paterne for a Kings inauguration. Addressed to Prince Charles as a handbook for kingship, the Paterne is a kind of second Basilicon Doron (written for Prince Henry). James describes the burdens of kingship, comparing them to the sufferings of Christ in his Passion, and using the gospel of St. Matthew as illustration. It seems very likely that King Charles's own conception of martyrdom was influenced by this work. First published 1620, STC 14381.5. The library has a copy of another 1620 issue, STC 14382, shelfmark 2.325(20). Details: STC 14412, octavo, pp. [30], 84 (p. 84 misnumbered 88), [2], sig. A8 (-A1), B-G8, H3. Final leaf is colophon. Initials J.R. on title page, probably in James's own hand. Numerous contemporary annotations throughout. This book is bound, as is its companion volume RB.s.2081(1), in calf with a gilt panel design enclosing a central medallion with the armorial design of Robert Day, a previous owner, on front and rear board. Both volumes contain bookplates of Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843), 6th son of George III, William Wrixon Leycester and Robert Day. The folding case which contains both books includes a plaintive manuscript letter to King Charles I from James's wayward doctor George Eglisham, who notoriously accused the Duke of Buckingham of having murdered King James and the Duke of Hamilton.
Acquired on04/10/00
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleMeditation vpon the Lords Prayer
ImprintLondon: b. Bonham Norton & Iohn Bill
Date of Publication1619
NotesAttractive copy of the first edition, STC 14384. King James's straightforward exposition of the Lord's Prayer is dedicated to the Duke of Buckingham, as one who has no time to spend on complex and lengthy prayer. Details: octavo, pp. [16], 146, sig. A-K8, L1. With notably pedantic explanatory annotations in contemporary hand with pointing fingers and underlining. Title page slightly stained; lacks sig. L2 (colophon). For more information, see on the companion volume RB.s.2081(2), Two Meditations of the Kings Maiestie (A Paterne for a Kings inauguration), which is in the same binding and has notes in the same hand; both were apparently in the Royal Library.
Acquired on04/10/00
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleProclamation ... March.24 ... 1602 [1603]
ImprintLondon: b. Robert Barker
Date of Publication1602/3
NotesThis is a fine uncut copy of the second edition of the proclamation in which the English privy council announced that James VI of Scotland succeeded Queen Elizabeth. James's hereditary right to the English throne is described and explained, and the text stresses that in addition to his legitimacy, James comes with 'all the rarest gifts of mind and bodie'. Details: STC 8298, black letter, 2 sheets, horizontal chain lines. Modern portfolio includes a misleading note identifying this work as STC 8297. Setting 2a, with first line of second sheet having reading 'Kingdomes, all'.
Acquired on04/10/00
AuthorJames VII and II
TitleNuevo triunfo de la religion Catolica, que los fieles deven al Christiano real cuydado, y magnanima providencia de serenissimo rey de la Bretaņa Jacobo Segundo.
ImprintSevilla: por Juan Francisco de Blas
Date of Publication[1687]
NotesBy the third year of his reign as king of England, Scotland and Ireland, James VII and II was finding it increasingly difficult to work with Anglican politicians who were hostile to him as a Catholic; he was more inclined to work with those who dissented from the established religions in his kingdoms. He therefore adopted his late brother's approach to religious toleration, seeking to remove religious persecution from Catholics, Quakers and other peaceable dissenters. Bypassing the parliament in Scotland, James's first declaration of indulgence (or toleration) was issued in Edinburgh on 12 February 1687. 'Moderate Presbyterians' were allowed to meet in their private houses, while Quakers could 'meet and exercise in their form in any place or places appointed for their worship'. All laws and acts of Parliament against Catholics were suspended. This Spanish translation of James's proclamation includes not only the text of the proclamation and its introductory letter, both signed by his Scottish secretary the earl of Melfort, but also the response of the Scottish privy council. The proclamation is mistakenly dated here 22 February 1687. In the Spanish editor's preamble it is stated that news of the proclamation was sent to the court of Spain's Charles II. The declaration of indulgence is regarded here as part of a wave of recent Catholic victories (also comprising successes by the Austrian emperor against the Ottomans, and the King of France against Calvinists). James went on to introduce a similar declaration in England in April of that year.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; bookseller's notes
Acquired on10/12/10
AuthorJames, Prince of Wales, 1688-1766.
TitleHis Majesty's most gracious declaration. James R.
Imprint[Edinburgh? s.n.]
Date of Publication1744?
NotesThis four-page declaration by James Stuart 'The Old Pretender', "given at our court at Rome, the 23d day of December 1743", appears to be part of a charm offensive in Scotland prior to a planned Jacobite uprising. The year 1743 had brought fresh impetus to the Jacobite cause, with the French taking the opposing side to Britain in the war of Austrian Succession. English Jacobites requested a French-led invasion of Britain and Louis XV of France was actively considering an expedition to reinstate the Stuarts on the British throne. News of the French king's intentions reached the Jacobite court in Rome in late December, resulting in the drafting of this declaration for publication and display at the market crosses throughout Scotland. James professes to having "always born the most constant affection to our ancient kingdom of Scotland, from whence we derive our royal origin". He notes with concern the miseries suffered by the country due to the "foreign usurpation", and how it has been reduced to the status of a province "under the specious pretence of an union with a more powerful neighbour". Having emphasised the Scottish roots of the Stuarts, James goes on to sketch out the details of a Jacobite Scotland free from the Hanoverian kings; if not independent, then at least with some greater degree of political autonomy. He promises an amnesty for opponents of his late father and the Jacobite cause, and, perhaps mindful of his father's brief, autocratic, reign as king of Britain, he undertakes to govern Scotland constitutionally with a free parliament and to allow Protestants "free exercise of their religion". In return he asks that his Scottish subjects assist him in recovering his rights and their own liberties. James's son, Charles Edward, meanwhile, travelled to France in January 1744, but his arrival in Paris in the following month had not gone unnoticed by the British government. Although an invasion force assembled at Gravelines, near Dunkirk, on the French coast, a combination of bad weather, storm damage to the French ships, and the presence of English warships in the Channel led to Louis cancelling the planned invasion in March, much to Charles's fury. The date and place of printing for the declaration is unknown; a sympathetic Jacobite printer in Edinburgh may have produced it in early 1744 before the cancellation of the French invasion plans made it redundant for the immediate future. ESTC records just three copies of this work in the UK, none in Scotland.
Reference SourcesESTC; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on18/11/11
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