PIRACY AND PHILOSOPHY – UNRECORDED

The Humourous and Diverting Story of Two Sailors, Who, in order to recruit their Stock of Cash, committed a Robbery, for which one of them was Tried, and received Sentence of Death, with the Copy of a Letter Written by his Shipmate to His Majesty, King Charles the Second, In order to procure his Pardon, to which is added, The Frail Project of a Wise Man.  London, ‘Published by M. Bassan, No. 

6, Punderson’s-Place, Bethnal-Green-Road’, [c. 1800?]. 

12mo, pp. 24; lightly dust-stained with a little foxing, small ink-stain to outer margin, but a very good copy; disbound.

£450

Approximately:
US $570€526

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The Humourous and Diverting Story of Two Sailors, Who, in order to recruit their Stock of Cash, committed a Robbery, for which one of them was Tried, and received Sentence of Death, with the Copy of a Letter Written by his Shipmate to His Majesty, King Charles the Second, In order to procure his Pardon, to which is added, The Frail Project of a Wise Man.  London, ‘Published by M. Bassan, No. 

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Seemingly unrecorded edition of this humorous chapbook tale of two penniless sailors who turn to piracy in an attempt to pay their rent, printed with a translation of Voltaire’s Memnon and the anonymous poem ‘Clara’. 

In the Humorous and Diverting Story of Two Sailors, Jack Ocum and Tom Splicewell turn to privateering in order to appease their landlady, who had begun to ‘behave roughly toward them’ (p.3).  They fail to make it to sea; armed only with broomsticks, they defraud a gentleman of three shillings sixpence.  While Tom is apprehended and taken to the Old Bailey, Jack writes a personal letter to Charles II, which, though riddled with errors, results in his companion’s release: ‘He’s a very honest Felloo … and if youle be kind as to order his Discharge, I dare sware he’ll never be gilty of such a nother cryme, as long as he lives, which will also very much oblyge’.  The text is closely adapted from the ‘Story of Jack Ocum and Tom Splicewell’ which had previously appeared in The Wooden World Dissected (1706), a satire on corruption within the English navy written by Edward Ward, the author of the London Spy

The Story is followed by Voltaire’s ‘Memnon the Philosopher’, here titled ‘The Frail Project of a Wise Man’.  First published in 1747, it was later expanded (with changed names) and republished in 1748 as Zadig ou la Destinée.  The following poem ‘Clara’, though unattributed here, was ascribed to one ‘Miss B—K’ in The Lady’s Magazine or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex (1777). 

Not on OCLC or Library Hub. 

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