British literature and history from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on poetry, fiction, and drama.
We usually have a selection of literary works from the STC and Wing period (i.e. before 1701), and a broad range of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction and poetry, particularly the Romantics. We also have a selection of historical manuscripts, prints and broadsides, and works in translation.
Among important works which have passed through our hands are the editor's presentation copy of Milton's Lycidas, Swift's Modest Proposal, the autograph draft of Byron's She walks in beauty, the autograph manuscript of Jane Austen's only play Sir Charles Grandison, Dickens’s copy of Vanity Fair, Trollope's classical library, and, over the years, some fifty Shakespeare First Folios.
Directions left by a Gentleman to his Sonns: for the Improvement of barren and heathy Land, in England and Wales.
London, Printed by E. T. and R. H. for R. Royston … 1670
Sole edition of one of the first books in English devoted to soil conservation. The dedication is signed Gabriel Reeve and dated from Hackney, 14 April 1670.
REMARKS ON FOG’S JOURNAL,
of February 10. 1752/3. Exciting the People to an Assassination.
London: Printed for J. Wilford …1733
First edition. In order to reduce the burden of the land tax on the country gentlemen upon whom his ministry depended, and to shift government revenues to other sources, Walpole revived the excise on salt and was considering substituting excise for customs duties on wine and tobacco. This led to alarms...
: or, a modest Search after the great Plunderers of the Nation: being a brief Enquiry into two weighty...
London, Printed in the Year, 1711.
First edition, the issue with ‘known. I.’ (rather than ‘known, viz. I.’) on the title-page, and with ‘against’ and ‘publick’ spelled correctly on pages 11 and 25. As the half-title and title-page form a bifolium cancelling A1 (the text begins on A2, page 3), the two variants were probably...
[REYNOLDS, Joshua, Sir].
A Discourse, delivered at the Opening of the Royal Academy, January 2, 1769 [also: October 16,...
London: Printed in the Year 1769.
First editions of seven discourses addressed by Reynolds to the newly founded Royal Academy, of which he was the first President.
The general Address (in two Parts) of the Outinian Lecturer to his Auditors …. London: Printed by W....
London: Printed by W. Nicol, late Bulmer & Co. … 1822
First edition, very rare. The Address is a revised version of the valedictory lecture given on 31 December 1818 to mark the centenary of the death of William Penn. It gives an explanation of the origins of the Society and then is entirely directed to the career and particularly the principles of William...
Literary Memoirs of living Authors of Great Britain, arranged according to an alphabetical Catalogue of their...
London: Printed for R. Faulder … sold also by T. Egerton … and W. Richardson … 1798.
First edition of a collection of literary biographies, including perhaps the earliest brief life of Coleridge, whose first volume of Poems had appeared in 1796:
Proverbs English, French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish. All Englished and alphabetically digested …
London, Printed for Simon Miller … 1659.
First and only edition of a scarce collection of idiomatic phrases and proverbs, many translated from other languages, with a selection of 114 ‘Golden sentences’ at the end.
Recollections of the Table-Talk of Samuel Rogers. To which is added Porsoniana.
London: Edward Moxon ... 1856.
First edition of this mine of contemporary literary gossip. Rogers is among that select group of poets to have declined the laureateship, and his poetry once had an ardent fan in Byron, who saw him as a much needed antidote to the Lake poets. His most durable achievement, however, has proved to be his...
Le rozier historial de France contenant deux roziers. Le p[re]mier rozier contient plusieurs belles rozes et boutons...
Paris, [Gilles Couteau for François Regnault], 26 February 1522 [i.e. 1523].
First edition, the very handsome Fairfax-Murray copy, of the Rozier historial de France.
Familiar Letters of Dr. William Sancroft, late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, to Mr. North, afterwards Sir Henry...
London, Printed for M. Cooper … and sold by Mr. Chreigton [sic] at Ipswich. 1757.
First edition: ‘pleasant, chatty, and jocose’ letters from 1652-93 (original DNB), and useful source material for the life of the nonjuring Archbishop of Canterbury.
[SARPI, Paolo (pseud.).] ‘Pietro Soave POLANO’.
Historia del Concilio Tridentino di Pietro Soave Polano. Seconda...
Geneva, Pierre Aubert, 1629.
Second edition, the first to omit the extraneous additions of the 1619 edition introduced by Marco Antonio de Dominis, of the influential and groundbreaking history of the Council of Trent by Paolo Sarpi (1552–1623), described by Milton as ‘the great unmasker’.
[SHAFTESBURY, Anthony Ashley [Cooper], third Earl of].
Several Letters written by a noble Lord to a young Man at the University …
London: Printed for J. Roberts … 1716.
First edition, posthumously published. The ten letters here were written by Shaftesbury to a protégé, Michael Ainsworth, whilst at Oxford (1707-1710). Shaftesbury’s own teacher, John Locke, features in a number of them, receiving from his erstwhile pupil both praise (‘No one has done more towards...
[SHAKESPEARE]; ‘HAMILTON, N.E.S.A.’ [i.e. COLLIER, John Payne].
An inquiry into the genuineness of the manuscript corrections...
London, Richard Bentley, 1860.
First edition, the result of research by the Keeper and Assistant Keeper of manuscripts at the British Library, Frederic Madden and Nicholas Hamilton.
SHAW, Eyre Massey, Capt.
Report … to the Right Hon. the Secretary of State of the Home Department concerning the Fire which occurred...
London: Printed for Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode … 1888.
First edition of Shaw’s account of the disastrous fire at the Theatre Royal, Exeter, in 1887.
SHERIDAN, Richard Brinsley.
The Speech … in the House of Commons, (8th December 1802) on the Motion for the Army Establ shment...
London: Printed for John Stockdale … 1802
First edition of Sheridan’s impressive speech on the army estimates, in support of funding precautions against Buonaparte’s aggression – ‘the crisis in which we are placed … so big with tremendous importance, so pregnant with mighty difficulties, so full of apprehensions and dangers ….’...
Comparative Observations on two of the Poems which were honoured with Prizes in a late Certamen at Ch. Ch....
York: Printed in theYear 1767
First edition of an undergraduate prank in which the future Dean of St. Asaph ridicules the awarding of prizes by the Dean of Christ Church and his fellow judges to two Latin poems written in honour of a visit by the Prince of Brunswick. An ironic dedication to the Dean is followed by the text of the...
The Speeches of Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, delivered in the House of Representatives of the United States, in...
Philadelphia printed, London reprinted for John Stockdale, 1794.
First London edition, a rebuff to the punitive anti-British tariffs proposed by the future President James Madison, first printed in Philadelphia in the same year and also reprinted in Edinburgh.
Observations on Monsieur de Sorbier’s Voyage into England. Written to Dr. Wren ...
London, Printed for John Martyn, and James Allestry, Printers to the Royal Society. 1665.
First edition. When Samuel de Sorbière published his polemical Relation d’un Voyage en Angleterre (1664), touching on defects in the English nation and character, Thomas Sprat, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, composed an angry reply in the form of a letter to Christopher Wren (both were stalwarts...
Sermons preached on several Occasions to which a Discourse is annexed concerning the true Reason of the...
London, Printed by Robert White, for Henry Mortlock … 1673.
First edition thus, comprising twelve sermons preached 1666-72 and ‘A Discourse concerning the Suffering of Christ’ (pp. 239-384); six of the sermons and the ‘Discourse’ were first published in 1669.
The Abridgement of the English Chronicle, first collected by M. John Stow, and after him augmented with very many...
London, for the Company of Stationers, 1618.
Stow’s Summarie of Englyshe Chronicles first appeared in 1565 and the Abridgement was frequently reprinted and supplemented by the author and, from 1602, by Edmund Howes until this, the final edition, in 1618.