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Christopher Edwards

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THEOLOGICAL LECTURES AT WESTMINSTER-ABBEY. With an interpretation of the New Testament. Part the first. Containing the Four Gospels. To which are added, Select Discourses upon the principal points of reveal’d religion . London: printed for J. and R. Tonson and S. Draper in the Strand. 1749. [bound with:] AN INTERPRETATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. Part the second. Containing, the Acts of the Apostles and the several Epistles. To which are added, Select Discourses upon the principal points of reveal’d religion . London: printed for J. and R. Tonson in the Strand.

HEYLYN, John. Two volume in one, 4to (binding size 265 x 205mm), pp. iv, 370, 163, [5]; viii, 431; a splendid copy bound in contemporary full red morocco, covers with broad gilt roll-tool borders incorporating crowns, spine gilt in six compartments, with olive morocco lettering piece in the second. (Discreetly repaired by James Brockman at head and foot of upper joint.) Edges gilt, marbled endpapers. A magnificent contemporary binding on a copy of both parts of this book, the major work of the mystical theologian John Heylyn (1685-1759). The second part was left unpublished at his death but is said in the anonymous preface to have been left ready to be printed. It seems very probable that the second part was printed under the auspices of Heylyn's son John (b. 1712), a merchant at Bristol (probably engaged in the slave trade), who was his only surviving child. The present copy, splendidly bound, was until recently in the library at Rousham House, Oxfordshire, seat of the Cottrell-Dormer family: it has the 19th century bookplate of Charles Cottrell Dormer, an early stencil monogram ('CCD') and crest on the endpaper, and an early inscription 'Elizabeth Cottrell Dormer' at the head of the title page. Why was this book so magnificently bound? It is almost certainly the copy that belonged to the author's son John, the Bristol merchant. Burke's History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland (1835, II p. 589) records that in 1761 'John Heylin esq. of Bristol' married Elizabeth Staunton, and by her had an only daughter, Elizabeth, who married Sir Clement Cottrell Dormer. That marriage seems to have occurred in 1783, and it is thus clear that the inscription in this volume would be that of the author's granddaughter, written after her marriage. Elizabeth must have died by about 1800, because Sir Clement married a second time (to Margaret Robinson) and had a son, Charles (1801-74) who inherited the estate: the later bookplate would therefore be his, and the book remained in the library at the family seat, Rousham House in Oxfordshire, until modern times.
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A VIEW OF THE TOWN: in an epistle to a friend in the country. A satire .

GILBERT, Thomas.] Folio, pp. [iv], 20; a good large copy; disbound. First edition. This is the first publication of the satirist Thomas Gilbert (1713-66): after Eton he went up to Oxford in 1729, but then migrated to Cambridge, where he was at Peterhouse at the same time as Thomas Gray - indeed, he was a fellow of the college 1736-44, at the same time as Gray, although for some part of that time Gray was on the continent with Horace Walpole. Other literary acquaintances made at this time were Laurence Sterne and John Hall-Stevenson (both at Jesus): the latter, in particular, became a close friend and in 1747 the dedicatee of Gilbert's Poems on Several Occasions. Gilbert owned an estate at Skinningrove, near Whitby, and was part of the literary set who met at Hall-Stevenson's Skelton Castle nearby. The present poem is a characteristic satire on the vices and follies of fashionable living in London: the corrupt men and women, the lack of morals or principle, the greedy prelates and politicians. These, most of them unnamed, are contrasted with more virtuous men of his acquaintance: I love the man that boldly speaks his thought, Nor gilds with flattery each flagrant fault; Who dares chastise the vices of a court, Tho' arbitrary laws their pow'r support (p. 14) - and he calls on Alexander Pope, 'thou scourge to a licentious age' to inspire him. In a final peroration Gilbert particularly attacks the homosexuality of a anonymous Lord, married to Saphira, who 'sighs for her absent lord in bridal bed' whilst he goes off to St James's Park 'in search of some vile ingle prize': From whence cou'd such polluted wretches spring, How learn to propagate so foul a sin! The sons of Sodom were destroy'd by fire, Gomorrah felt the Lord's destructive ire, The great metropolis of England's isle Had like to've been the nation's funeral pile (p. 19). Foxon G148. There was an octavo reprint the same year, supposedly also printed by Penny in London, but in fact an Edinburgh piracy; otherwise, this is the only separate edition.
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A BATTLE FOUGHT WITH THE BOASTERS: or, Patroclus’s weak defence by force defeated; and H-lm-s, S-mp-n, E-gl-d, and all their vaunting host, cast headlong into the sea of ignorance. By Philomathematicus’s army of arguments

HEATH, Robert?] 8vo in fours, pp. 36; bound as the penultimate pamphlet in a volume with six other pieces (plus one incomplete); contemporary quarter calf over marbled boards; early MS index. Bookplate of Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo (1739-1806), friend and executor of James Boswell; numbered volume 34. First edition of an extraordinary work, attacking the Greek grammar published in 1735 by John Holmes, master of the grammar school at Holt, in Norfolk. Holmes (1702/3-1760) was a remarkably successful reforming teacher who restored the reputation of the school in the years after his appointment in 1730. For reasons which are difficult to fathom, the publication of the second edition in 1737 aroused the fiercest possible antagonism and controversy, with savage attacks and rebuttals appearing in the Norfolk and London press. One of the men who took up the cudgels was Robert Heath (d. 1779), a mathematician from Foulsham, who seems to have been a very quarrelsome individual – and in the present case, perhaps, goaded on by an already-simmering antipathy towards the more famous mathematician Thomas Simpson (1710-61). Simpson had joined the battle, as had an associate of Simpson's, Daniel Eagland, who seems to have been a poet. This ragbag of a publication includes letters addressed to Heath – presumably actually written by the supposed recipient, as they all put his side of the case – and mathematical puzzles (both Heath and Simpson were contributors to the Ladies Diary, a well-known repository of such games). But the major part of this pamphlet is in verse: not just the title poem (pp. 5-16, loosely imitating Dryden's translation of the Aeneid) but also verse letters addressed to Eagland ('on his Poetry') and Simpson, and another poem denigrating Simpson by 'Mr. Parkinson' (possibly another pseudonym for Heath himself. The pamphlet was published by subscription, and list of the subscribers precedes the text: it features around a hundred names, largely from north Norfolk – Holt, Guist, Wells, Cley, Walsingham and other towns and villages, as well as Norwich itself. It is, however, exceptionally rare now, with only three copies located – two at the Bodleian and one at the Lilly Library, Indiana University. The same sheets were reissued under a new title, The dunces of Norfolk, in 1740 (Foxon B95.5), and are located in two copies (BL and University of Cincinnati). Foxon B95. See David Stoker, 'The grammarians' battleground: controversies surrounding the publication of John Holmes's Greek grammar' in Paradigm (1995), pp. 1-14. Bound in a volume with six other pamphlets of 1735-38, including Willem Verheiden's Spanish Policy (London, J. Wilford, 1738), a translation of his tract against the Spanish Armada of 1588: Verheiden's elder brother was a friend of Thomas Bodley. This is a very rare pamphlet, with just two copies located in ESTC, at the BL and Trinity Cambridge. (A copy supposedly at the NLS, listed by Copac and WorldCat, is a microfilm.)
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DISTRESS. A POEM. By Robert Noyes, Cranbrook, Kent .

NOYES, Robert. 4to, pp. viii, [viii], 34, [2]; complete with half title (rather dusty) and with the original blank leaves b2 (after the subscription list) and F2 (at the very end); a fine copy, stitched as issued, uncut. First edition of this poem by Robert Noyes (d. 1798). This is probably a subscriber's copy, as it has the inscription 'Eliz Hodson jun' on the half title, presumably meaning that it was to be delivered to her. The list of subscribers includes the Rev. John Hodson, vicar of Thornham, Mr. H.L. Hodson, Clerk of the Survey (living at Sheerness), and Mr. T. Hodson of Cranbrook, who subscribed for two copies. As his prefatory address states, Robert Noyes had been a dissenting minister at Cranbrook for 26 years when the congregation unexpectedly and summarily dismissed him. They claimed that they could no longer afford his services, but then engaged a new man, whom they paid 'ten pounds a year more than they gave the Author'. Their treatment prompted him to write this piece, which includes several examples of distress: one of them is set in America, where 'Near Penn's domain once dwelt a sober sage, Grown venerably grey with grief and age'. He and his daughter and her husband are set upon by a 'savage band' (presumably of native Americans, though the poem does not say), who kidnap the lovely girl and take her away to a desert where she dies of grief. A very scarce provincially-printed poem: ESTC gives just three locations in the UK, and six in the USA.
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ST. JAMES’S STREET, A POEM, in blank verse. By Marmaduke Milton, esq .

DUNSTER, Charles.] 4to, pp. [iv], 38; disbound. First and only edition. A topographical and topical poem by the Rev. Charles Dunster (1750-1816), who was rector of Petworth, Sussex, and thus a protégé of Lord Egremont. The inspiration for a composition in blank verse - as well as the pseudonym - came from Milton himself, in whom Dunster had an academic interest: he produced an annotated editon of Paradise Regained in 1795, and wrote also on Milton's supposed debt to Joshua Sylvester. From the fact that the poem was available from a St James's Street bookseller, Elizabeth Harlow, one can suppose that the habitués as well as the denizens of the street found the treatment of their locality flattering rather than biting. St James's Street had become fashionable, along with the rest of the area, after the redevelopment that began in the 1660s, and by the later 18th century the street was where the most socially-elevated clubs, shops and gaming-houses were to be found. Dunster - who never married - praises the beautiful women to be found there, but deplores the 'needless Ornament' of cosmetics and showy clothes, and admires in particular a flower-girl whom he celebrates as 'the Flora of St James's Street' in a rhyming section of some fifty lines in the middle of the poem (pp. 28-31). Otherwise he notes, without the condemnation that one might expect, the way in which the ladies are beginning to 'usurp the Whip and boldly grasp the Reins . with manly fortitude'. He also admires the fashionable gentlemen and the well-dressed servants, and, in a line which indicates class-distinction as well as colour barriers, comments on black footmen: . Sometimes at their head, Index of Rank or Opulence supreme, A sable Youth from Æthiopia's climes, In milk-white Turban dight, precedes the Train . (p. 14) This is quite a scarce poem: ESTC locates just four copies in the UK (BL, Cambridge, Durham and Bodleian), and six in the USA (Duke, Harvard, Huntington, Newberry, Penn and Yale).
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THE DESCRIPTION OF EPSOM, with the humors and politicks of the place: in a letter to Eudoxa . There is added a translation of Four Letters out of Pliny.

TOLAND, John. 8vo in fours, pp. [iv], 44; title page and last leaf with small stains at foot; foxing on pp. 11-16; disbound. First and only edition of a rare work by the controversial philosopher and religious radical John Toland (1670-1722). He had spent the years 1707-10 on the continent, but he returned when Harley and the Tories took power after their electoral victory of October 1710, and Harley provided him with a house at Epsom, and commissions to write for the new government. Toland seems to have greatly enjoyed living in the town, conveniently close to London and yet still very much the country: it is, he writes, 'deliciously situated in a warm even bottom, between the finest Downs in the world'. He also relishes a much easier atmosphere than he found in London: 'I must do our Coffee-houses the justice to affirm, that for social virtue they are equal'd by few, and exceeded by none, tho I do wish they may be imitated by all. A Tory does not stare and leer when a Whig comes in, nor a Whig look sour and whisper at the sight of a Tory. These distinctions are laid by with the winter suit at London, and a gayer easier habit worn in the country' (p. 15). Appended to this account of the Surrey town is a short 'specimen' of letters of Pliny which Toland was translating - although it appears that he never completed the work. Carabelli, Tolandiana, pp. 150-1. This is an uncommon, as well as uncharacteristic, production by Toland: ESTC locates eight copies in the UK (and none in Ireland, Toland's home country), and seven in the USA.