Jarndyce, The 19th Century Booksellers

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Narrative of an Appeal to the Crown; in 1877

Narrative of an Appeal to the Crown; in 1877, an episode of English history.

MURRAY, Eustace Clare Grenville. FIRST EDITION. Half title; a little spotted. Contemp. brown buckram; sl. marked. 3pp folded signed printed letter, addressed to the Duke of Bedford in Murray's hand & signed by Murray, bound in before the pamphlet. Bookplate of the Duke of Bedford on leading f.ep. 85pp. BL only on Copac; OCLC adds three further copies, at NLS, Bibliothèque Nationale, and Landesbibliotek, Coburg. Eustace Grenville Murray, 1824-1881, was a journalist and diplomat; a scurrilous writer, he was famously horsewhipped outside the Conservative Club for insulting Lord Carrington. The Narrative is a privately printed vindication of Murray's consulship of Odessa and an attempt to 'claim those Constitutional rights which belong to me as a public servant'. He returned to England from Odessa in 1868, with many complaints ranged against him, including forgery of birth and marriage certificates, profiteering, corruption, and mistreatment of a lady. The following year he skipped bail on perjury charges and fled to Paris, effectively exiling himself from England. The present volume is partly an appeal to be allowed to return to England, and Murray mounts an exceptionally spirited defence of himself, methodically denying every charge. The sheer energy of his writing and the irreverent tone which made him such an engaging journalist is very much in evidence and his description of his attempts to gain an audience with Lord Derby (who 'had barricaded himself behind a large high writing table much as a nervous man might do who is seeking to protect himself against a present danger') is nothing short of hilarious. The printed letter suggests Murray sent copies to the great and the good to plead his case, and it is easy to imagine the wastepaper baskets of the nobility redounding with the sounds of forcefully hurled copies. The Duke of Bedford, however, appears to have been sufficiently good-humoured or fair-minded to have his copy bound and kept in his library. The letter initially appears uncharacteristically conciliatory to authority, containing phrases such as 'I humbly submitted my case to the Queen' and 'traditional respect of justice'. However, there is a note of threat to it, and he is effectively offering his correspondents a chance to remedy the situation before Murray is forced to go public. Murray is also unable to resist throwing in a bit of gossip, claiming that 'Lord Beaconsfield wishes to be removed from the Premiership as soon as public business will allow him to retire'. Grenville Murray deserves to be better remembered, and this is a lively document of the twilight years of one of England's most caustic and vital journalists.
The Labourer; a monthly magazine of politics

The Labourer; a monthly magazine of politics, literature, poetry etc. Vols I & II.

PERIODICAL. O'CONNOR, Feargus and JONES, Ernest, eds. 2 vols in 1. Front. port. Contemp. pebble-grained green binder's cloth, red sheep label; a little rubbed. Four copies only on Copac. The Labourer ran to four volumes between 1847 and 1848, intended as 'a monthly companion magazine to the Northern Star which intended to place "poetry and romance side by side with politics and history"'. It offers a rich source of Chartist poetry and fiction. Jones wrote much of the fiction, and undertook the lion's share of editorial duties, but both men were exceptionally dynamic characters and gifted public speakers, and this publication shows the romantic, idealistic engine behind the labour movement in contrast to the practicalities expressed in its sister publication, The Northern Star. Writing in the preface to volume I, the editors state that 'our object has been more instruction than amusement - we, however, had one great goal before our eyes - the redemption of the Working Classes from the thraldom - and to this object we have made the purpose of each article subservient'. '"The Labourer"', it continues, 'is one of the very few magazines which supply their readers with entirely original matter - and the only one which fully and fearlessly stands forward as the advocate of popular rights'. The very first contribution is a poem, by Jones, entitled 'The Labourer; a Christmas Carol': In a cottage on a moor Famine's feeble children cried, The frost knocked sharply at the door, And hunger welcom'd him inside.'
The Great Gun. Vol. I

The Great Gun. Vol. I, no. 1, Saturday, November 16, 1844 – to vol. II, no. 33, June 28, 1845.

PERIODICAL. 33 12pp folio issues, illus; all but 8 incomplete, 10 lacking the first leaf & 14 the final leaf, seemingly never bound in here. Contemp. half calf, marbled paper boards, maroon morocco title label on front board; sl. rubbed. Book label of M.R.H. Hartley; embossed stamp of B.J.N. Edwards F.S.A. Copac records BL only although not stating issues; OCLC adds the same number of issues as here at NYPL, and copies at the Newberry, Pittsburgh and Bristol only. A rather frustrating run of a short-lived and rare satirical periodical established in the shadow of the enormously popular Punch or The London Charivari, established in 1841 by, amongst others, Henry Mayhew. 'The Great Gun', the editor declares in its first number, 'salutes society by the sound of many voices, by the eloquence of many pens. It speaks trumpet-tongued with fire in its heart and thunder upon its far-sped wings to all the world of mind and intellect, and busy teeming through'. Its intention was to create a '"Paper for every home", binding classes together, and blending features which, although fairly mixable, have not met before'. The illustrations are largely by Edmund Evans, but with contributions from Ebenezer Landells (Evans's tutor and founder of Punch), Hablot K. Browne, Henry George Hine and Alfred Crowquill. Varying from vignettes and illustrated letters to full page satires attacking all and sundry in the spotlight of society. As with many other imitators of Punch, The Great Gun did not last long, the ink drying after only 33 issues.