Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2013 Issue

More English Verse 1751-1800 from Justin Croft and Simon Beattie

Beattiecrofthp

More English verse from 1751-1800.

Justin Croft and Simon Beattie have issued a second catalogue of English Verse 1751-1800. Part II: H-P. Those poetical Englishmen (and women) from the second half of the 18th century are back again, and unless there are no poets whose last names begin after letter after “P,” they will return for at least one more appearance. Many put their pens to poems and plays (we like to use that letter “P”) with varying degrees of success. Most of these writers range from obscure to moderately well known. Some had great skills, others more will than talent. In many instances, contemporary reviews of the works are provided. The reviewers could be tough. They were kind where they believed the work merited praise, biting when they thought it was terrible. One positive about lesser works is they tend to be quite rare, not something that every, perhaps any, library possesses. These books came from the extensive collection of James O. Edwards and many display his bookplate.

Item 58 is a rare poem following the closing of the American Revolution by William Hurn. Hurn first began work as a tutor in classical literature, but joined the army in 1779. A year later he left and was ordained a minister. It was early during this period that he wrote The Blessings of Peace, and the Guilt of War, a lyric poem, published in 1784. Hurn looked at the horrors of war and gave thanks that it was over. However, he remained depressed that slavery continued to hold sway across the Atlantic. He wrote, “He drags with unrelenting hands / Millions from Africa's sands / Weeping, and doom'd to view no more / Their kindred dear and natal shore.” In the years ahead, Hurn became more deeply devoted to his theological beliefs, in time resigning from the organized church to preach his intense beliefs of the meaning of scripture. Priced at £1,500 (British pounds, or roughly $2,291 U.S. dollars).

Hannah More shared Hurn's abhorrence for slavery. However, she was a far more successful writer. She began as a teacher, but soon turned her attention to writing plays. In the 1780s, she became associated with numerous notable people of the time. She turned to evangelical Christianity, and with money now flowing in, she supported women's education and other philanthropic causes. However, she was no radical, not a Mary Wollstonecraft. Rather, she focused on teaching good manners and less threatening endeavors for women. She did, however, take a hard line on slavery. Item 204 is Slavery, a Poem, published in 1788. A popular writer by this time, her advocacy helped to bring an end to the slave trade. This first edition was published in London, but was quickly followed by New York and Philadelphia printings that perhaps weren't quite so effective in bringing about needed change. £300 (US $458).

Item 9 is Poems: by G.D. Harley, of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, published in 1796. George Davies Harley was a serviceable, reasonably popular actor of his time. The Dictionary of National Biography says, “He never rose above being a useful actor.” His poetry was perhaps of similar limitations. The Critical Review felt his descriptions were excellent, but that Harley was given to “prolixity,” using too many words. The Monthly Review was not so gentle. Noting that subscribers would never feel shortchanged in terms of quantity, it notes, “...he never fails of giving enough. Here is a poem on Night that would almost require a night's reading to get through it; and a Legacy of Love to a Child, as long as was ever bequeathed by a lawyer's pen in a real last will and testament.” Still, it credits Harley with good observation of events that have passed before him. £700 (US $1,069).

Item 193 is a group of four religious works bound together, the most notable A Modern Familiar Religious Conversation, among People of different Sentiments. This came from the pen of one Thomas Wright (there were generations of Thomas Wrights in his family – this one lived from 1736-1797 and his autobiography compiled by his grandson, Thomas Wright, refers to him as Thomas Wright of Birkenshaw). Wright was partial to the Methodists and knew John Wesley, though he never officially signed up. His Methodists sympathies may have arisen from his dislike for the local ardent Calvinists, that more likely arising from his feelings about his Calvinist in-laws than from theological differences. Wright attacked them, using his extraordinary wit. In this work on different sentiments, faced with all of the different religious choices, he notes:

“While each, and ev'ry one pretend

To be to sacred truth a friend,

They make that book their only rule,

Which Christians own infallible,

For guiding through life's dubious maze:

Yet they explain it fifty ways!

Churchmen, Presbyterians, Quakers,

New-lights, Independents, Shakers,

Anabaptists, Antinomians,

Methodists, and Sandimonians;

Supralapsarians. and Moravians,

Sublapsarians, and Baxterians;

Ranters, Mystics, Puritans,

Inghamites and Lutherans;

Many besides of old renown,

Not easy to be noted down,

Calvinists, Arians, and Socinians,

Pelagians, Papists, and Arminians ;

Churches Greek, and Latin, too

With many more, both old and new,

Than you would think, or I can shew.”

While Wright eventually emerges from his perplexity sympathetic to Methodism, he would later point out that if anyone could show his beliefs incorrect, he would gladly renounce them. £950 (US $1,451).  

Rare Book Monthly

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    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
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    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
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