Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2021 Issue

A Miscellany from Forest Books


A miscellany.

Forest Books has issued their Miscellany Twelve, or A Catalogue of Rare and Curious Books, Pamphlets & Printed Ephemera on a Wide Variety of Subjects. If you would like more specificity, here is the rest of the long title: Including, Agriculture, Architecture, Botany, Children's Books, Crime & Law, Cookery, Economics, Education, English Literature, the Fine Arts, Geology, Horticulture, Ireland, Military & Naval, Natural History, Photography, Social Studies, Science & Medicine, Sporting Books, Technology, Trade Catalogues, Travel & Topography, etc. Is there anything that isn't here? I noticed the English bookseller missed Americana, only to find a few such items when I read the catalogue. There's a biography of John Paul Jones, admittedly English-born but an America hero, and several volumes of The American Wood, so everything must be covered. Here are a few miscellaneous items from this miscellany.


You may not be aware of this, but insanity was cured back in 1820. Our first item comes from George Man Burrows, An Inquiry into Certain Errors Relative to Insanity, and their Consequences, published in 1820. Forest quotes, “Burrows claimed to have cured eighty-one percent of all mental patients in his private asylum, with the rate rising to ninety-one percent for cases of less than a year duration.” Perhaps he had some amazing remedies lost to time, but my guess is the doctor was fooling himself. Insanity had once been thought totally incurable, so there was a reaction, perhaps overreaction, by those wishing to help these people. Item 27. Priced at £395 (British pounds, or approximately $544 in U.S. dollars).


Here is another “cure” book, An Essay on the Sea-Scurvy: Wherein is Proposed an Easy Method of Curing that Distemper at Sea; and of Preserving Water Sweet for any Cruize or Voyage, by Anthony Addington, published in 1753. You may remember that it was Captain James Cook who brought back the cure for scurvy about two decades later with malt and sauerkraut. Addington believed the cause was bad water, so he proposed a way of keeping water fresh, thinking that would cure scurvy. It didn't. Item 1. £475 (US $654).


Next we have Hemingway's History of the Spanish Revolution. Papa Ernest Hemingway wrote about, and certainly was a supporter of, the Republican cause during the Spanish Revolution. Wait a minute! Wrong Spanish Revolution, wrong Hemingway. Item 87 is a book about the Spanish Revolution of 1812, and the author was Joseph Hemingway. Evidently, if this was the revolution to end all revolutions, it did not succeed. It set up a constitutional monarchy with a representative legislature, quite liberal for its day. It was also abandoned two years later when King Ferdinand VII returned to power. However, there would be later constitutions and Spain's first attempt served as an inspiration both in Spain and other countries. Published in 1823. £245 ($337).


Everyone likes a good pirate story, so here's one for you. Item 161 is Trial of Charles Christopher Delano, and others, The Crew of the Brig William of Liverpool, before His Excellency Sir Thomas Maitland, Governor of Malta, published in Malta 1820. Delano was master of the ship William on a journey from America to Malta to deliver a cargo of sugar. Along the way, Delano and his agreeable crew hatched a plan to augment their income. Off the Straits of Gibralter, they pulled up alongside the Helen and in the darkness of night, boarded the ship. They locked the crew below and transferred its cargo of cotton to their ship. Fearful witnesses would tell, they drilled a hole in the Helen to sink her. For extra precaution, they also punched a hole in the longboat. They then sailed on to Malta and unloaded the cargo, including the stolen merchandise, and sailed on. Unfortunately for them, the Helen did not sink. Her crew escaped, and bailed furiously in the longboat until they were was rescued, told their tale, and a British ship proceeded to track down the William, chained up their crew, and brought them to trial. They did not have much of a defense. Delano and most of his men were convicted and sentence to be hanged, which was carried out. The punishment also provided that their bodies be hung up in public as a lesson for others. While I cannot say this for certain, the uncommon Delano name and its origins make it highly likely that Charles Christopher Delano was related to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Every family has its black sheep. £975 (US $1,344).


Speaking of sheep, do your sheep need improvement? Here is a book for people possessing unimproved sheep – A Compleat System of Experienced Improvements, made on Sheep, Grass-Lambs, and House Lambs, published in 1749. Forest tells us this is the first English work devoted to shepherding. Author William Ellis was an English farmer who wrote on agricultural topics. This is a practical guide to raising sheep. You will learn such things as “the newest methods of suckling house lambs, to the greatest perfection.” Item 63. £750 (US $1,034).


Here is an example of how the meaning of words has evolved over time, An Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy, by Ms. Bellamy herself, published in 1785. George Anne Bellamy was an actress who was not apologizing for her life, but rather, an apology meaning a defense of it. She was an actress, a good one, determined to succeed. However, she lived a dissolute lifestyle which destroyed her reputation and left her to die in poverty. According to A Compendium of Irish Biography, “Her memoirs - a deplorable account of an ill-regulated life, devoid of general interest or value – are believed to have been written from her notes by Alexander Bicknell.” Kind of makes you want to read it. Perhaps Ms. Bellamy should have apologized for her life. The book was published in 1785, three years before she died. Item 17. £175 (US $241).


Forest Books may be reached at 01400 251865 (international +44 1400 251865) or bib@forestbooks.co.uk. Their website is www.forestbooks.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

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    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 5 Dickens 1st Ed. Books, incl. Edited by Author. $800 to $1,000.
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    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Maurice Sendak Signed Items, incl. Nutcracker, Pierre. $500 to $600.
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    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Henri Matisse Jazz Portfolio for MOMA, 1st Ed., 1983. $600 to $800.
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