Sketches of society and manners in Portugal. In a series of letters . . . to his brother in London.

London, T. Vernor, [1787.]

Two vols., 8vo, pp. vi, 424; iv, 424; some spotting or light foxing; contemporary calf, red morocco lettering-pieces on spines; rubbed, rebacked, head of spines repaired, upper cover of vol. I detached; from the library of Ian Robertson (1928–2020).

£475

Approximately:
US $633€561

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Sketches of society and manners in Portugal. In a series of letters . . . to his brother in London.

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First edition. This work is attributed to James Ferrier (b. 1734), a Scottish army officer in Portuguese service (1762–80) who assisted the Count of Lippe in the reform of the Portuguese army. The letters are dated between 1778 and 1779 and record the author’s experiences and impressions in Faro, Mértola, Beja, Evora, Elvas, Castelo Branco, Porto, Braga, and Lisbon, whence almost half of the letters are written. He is notably unrestrained in his criticism of the administration, in particular the Church (‘the effects of ecclesiastical despotism . . . have been fatal to this unhappy country’, p. 421), but also the royal court: King Pedro III ‘has very hard features, joined to a foolish look, and wears a very ill-combed wig, generally to one side; and though he never tastes wine, yet, to my mind, he has altogether very much the appearance of a stupid old guzzling Englishman, about two-thirds drunk’ (vol. II p. 121).

Provenance: Gore Townsend (1752–1826), of Honington Hall, Warwickshire, with bookplate in vol. I.

ESTC T148536.

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