A Father’s Legacy to his Daughters … the second Edition.

London, W. Strahan and T. Cadell, and Edinburgh, W. Creech, 1774.

Small 8vo, pp. x, [2], 132; with half-title; light offsetting; a very good copy in nineteenth-century half calf with marbled sides, spine gilt-ruled in compartments, gilt red morocco lettering-piece in one, another lettered directly in gilt, very lightly rubbed; nineteenth-century engraved armorial bookplate of Lord Napier with pencil shelfmark, signature N marked ‘Napier’ in ink.


US $383€318

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A Father’s Legacy to his Daughters … the second Edition.

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‘Second edition’ of Gregory’s Legacy to his Daughters, published immediately after the first. Written following the death of the author’s wife in 1761, the text was not intended for publication, rather to provide posthumous guidance for his two daughters, whom he brought up ‘in a philosophical simplicity’ (ODNB) endorsed by his friend Elizabeth Montagu. The year following his death in 1773, however, it was published by his son James with considerable success, with numerous editions, translations, and piracies printed in quick succession.

Though professing to consider women ‘companions and equals’ to the male sex (p. 6), Gregory proposes a conservative view of the role of women, dismissing as ‘folly’ the notion that they might garner respect ‘by conversing with us with the same unreserved freedom as we do with one another [and] by resembling us as nearly as they possibly can’ (p. 42), and he advises that ‘it is your interest to keep yourselves sacred from all personal freedoms’ (p. 43).

‘His concern for his daughters’ reputations in the world led him to advocate caution and prudence; thus he advised them to conceal their learning and wit, advice that was scornfully dismissed as a system of dissimulation by Mary Wollstonecraft in Vindication of the Rights of Woman.’ (ODNB).

ESTC T226582 (Edinburgh, NLS, and Smith College only).

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