Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2013 Issue

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

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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

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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