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.
Harangue ... touchant ce qu'ont faict les deputez de l’Université de Paris envers le Roy. Mise de Latin en Francois.
Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1557.
First French-language edition of the above, issued simultaneously with the Latin text and presumably translated by Ramus himself. Apart from La Dialectique, this is one of Ramus’ very few works in the vernacular. Very rare.
A Briefe Discourse of the true (but neglected) use of Charact’ring the Degrees by their Perfection, Imperfection,...
London, Printed by Edw: Allde for Tho. Adams 1614.
First edition of a scarce and unusual work of music theory, with particular focus on various types of vernacular music – hunting songs, dances, drinking-songs, love-songs etc. The ‘Discourse’ is followed by twenty printed exempla in the form of part-songs for four voices, twelve by Ravenscroft...
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...
RERESBY, Sir John, Bt.
The Travels and Memoirs of Sir John Reresby ... The Former (now First Published) Exhibiting a View of the...
London: B. McMillan for Edward Jeffery, Sherwood, Neely and Jones, and J. Rodwell, 1813.
First illustrated edition of the memoirs and first publication of ‘The Travels’, large-paper copy. The politician, traveller and writer Reresby (1634-1689) was the son of the royalist Sir John Reresby, Bt (c. 1611-1646), who had been created a baronet by Charles I, and, like his father, the younger...
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...
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.
ACT OF UNION.] A coherent tract volume of ten pamphlets, for and against the Union, published in 1705-6.
The months leading up to the Act of Union in January 1707 were a time of heated debate in Scotland. Politicians, writers, the landed gentry, churchmen, and others joined in making their opinions known in tracts and speeches. To pressures from an England anxious to ensure a Protestant succession were...
SCOTT, Sir John, of Scotstarvit.
The Staggering State of the Scots Statesmen, for one hundred Years, viz. from 1550 to 1650 …...
Edinburgh: Printed by Wal. Ruddiman jun. and Company; and sold by R. Nimmo … 1754.
First edition of a reflection on the instability of success, including the author’s own fall from office after years of service to King and country; Thomas Carlyle described the work as ‘a strange little book, not a satire but a Homily on Life’s nothingness enforced by examples’. It circulated...
SEYPPEL, Karl Maria.
Schlau, Schlauer am Schlausten. --- Er Sie Es. IIte Aegyptische Humoreske.--- Die Plagen 3te Aegyptische Humoreske.
Dusseldorf, Felix Bagel, .
First editions. With the Jewish population attaining greater prominence both economically and culturally, the 1880s saw a corresponding wave of emerging anti-Semitism across Central and Eastern Europe. The present works aim to provide a historical precedent for anti-Semitism dating back to the age of...
[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...
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.
SOCIETY FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF ARTS, MANUFACTURES, AND COMMERCE.
Premiums by the Society, established at London, for the Encouragement...
London: Printed by Order of the Society. 1759.
First edition of the 1759 list of premiums. The Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, now known as the Royal Society of Arts, was founded in 1754 by William Shipley, a drawing master living in Northampton, to awarded ‘premiums’ (cash prizes) to support improvements in...
Autograph letter, signed, concerning problems of tenure with certain estates including his own, and concerning...
Kinsale, 18 October 1677
Robert Southwell (d. 1677), father of the diplomat and future secretary of state for Ireland Sir Robert Southwell, was a land owner and government administrator with various official responsibilities at Kinsale. Like others during the Commonwealth he had been able to increase his estates by acquiring...