The instructor: or, young man’s best companion … to which is added the family’s best companion.

London, for A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch et al. [not before 1735].

12mo, pp. viii, 424, with four engraved plates of letterforms on two leaves and one folding table, with two pages of needlework patterns pp. 410-411; table torn with small loss to border and a line of text at foot, small stain to one leaf, a few leaves with very light damp-stain, else a very good copy in contemporary sheep, double blind fillet border, inner blind roll, joints cracked but cords sound, spine chipped at head and foot with loss to lower compartment, corners bumped, a little rubbed with small loss to upper board; ownership inscriptions of C. Digby and C. Dodson to front pastedown, another dated 1746 partially erased at head of title; preserved in a cloth box.


US $445€410

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Second edition (the first appeared in 1727). ‘Volumes entitled “The Young Man’s companion” exist in many versions and go back to the 1680s when William Mather produced the first of them. They are compendiums of useful information, intended for self-improvement. They concentrate on English, Mathematics, including mensuration for elementary building and carpentry, and geography. There is much miscellaneous information.’ (David Barton and Nigel Hall (eds), Letter writing as a social practice, 2000, pp. 51-2).

The present work includes a wealth of useful information, including lists of proverbs, instructions for making pens and ink, model letters, how to keep accurate accounts, wordings for different bills, guides to the universities and counties, month by month gardening instructions, how to mark linen for tapestries, and recipes for different wines. Oxfordshire is described as follows: ‘one of the most pleasant, healthful, and fertile Counties in the Kingdom; ‘tis watered with delightful Rivers ... but above all, it is famous for having the finest University in the World’ (pp. 257-8).

Alston IV, 358; ESTC T66097. This edition not in Herwood or ICA, which list several editions, all later.

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