A Nominal Encomium on the Election of Magistrates at Michaelmass 1764. 

[Edinburgh, 1764.] 

4to, pp. [2], 2; woodcut head- and tailpieces; a little dusty and creased, but a good copy, uncut, one autograph correction.


US $575€532

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A Nominal Encomium on the Election of Magistrates at Michaelmass 1764. 

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First edition, very rare, a poem celebrating both the election of James Stuart of Binend as Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and the plans for the construction of Edinburgh New Town, of which building was to commence in 1767.  Typically for Mein he anagrammatizes his subject as ‘A Just Master’, and foregrounds himself:

Since just Steward we have got, he’ll make our city clean;
And so encourage that affair, as plann’d by Robert Mien [sic] … 

Mein (or sometimes Mien – he seems to use both, d. 1776) was an Edinburgh original, and this the earliest published of a series of Nominal or Anagramical and Nominal Encomia on the newly elected Town Council – ESTC lists examples for 1764, 1766, 1771, 1772, 1774 and 1775, only two attributed to Mein but all clearly by him.  ‘He always expressed an excess of regard for the place of his nativity, and proposed many salutary improvements for the police of the city of Edinburgh …  Though his schemes were too often treated at first as imaginary, yet many of them afterwards were found to be real improvements, and as such adopted’ (obituary in Weekly Magazine, 1776).  His plans for city street-cleaning had been proposed as early as the 1730s, and were published in 1760 as The City Cleaned.  And his wider hopes for the city appeared as The Edinburgh Paradise Regain’d (1764), in which he suggested the construction of a mole to link the Old and proposed New Town, and a canal from thence to Leith.  It is probably these plans to which he refers here:

Prosperity to Edinburgh, while lasts the radiant Sun,
The useful works propos’d for her, by the new Plan be done;

Which does exhibit at full length, the best and cheapest manner,
Not only with the smallest cost, but be a certain gainer … 

Two copies only in ESTC: NLS, and Bodley. 

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