BOSWELL, James.

British Essays in Favour of the Brave Corsicans: By Several Hands.

London: For Edward and Charles Dilly, 1769 Stock Code: 129020
£5,750.00
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First edition of this collection of 20 essays compiled by Boswell as part of his long-standing campaign on behalf of the Corsican insurgents seeking independence from the Genoese - his first important work had been An Account of Corsica, the Journal of a Tour to that Island, and Memoirs of Pascal Paoli, published by the Dilly brothers in the previous year. A few months after the British Essays appeared Boswell made a spectacular appearance at a masked ball dressed as an armed Corsican chief, and for many years was known as "Corsica Boswell". The volume mostly comprises letters originally submitted to newspapers by Boswell and others. Pottle attributes numbers 1, 6, and 12 to Boswell; other possible contributors are the merchant and politician Barlow Trecothick, Samuel Vaughan, Tom Cumming (nicknamed "the Fighting Quaker"), the physician Sir Alexander Dick, Sir John Cunninghame and Robert Keith, Rothschild noting that No. 15, signed "T.H.", is probably by Thomas Hollis.

Provenance: Rev. Robert McKinlay, distinguished collector of Boswelliana (attractive aquatint bookplate), with a typed slip pasted in noting the book's rarity and its acquisition from the Edinburgh bookseller John Grant (the National Library of Scotland hold a number of Boswell items from McKinlay's library); novelist Hugh Walpole (1884-1941), with his gilt Brackenburn bookplate.

Conspicuously scarce: auction records show only three copies appearing in rooms - the Ralph Isham copy (1933, resold in 1948), the present copy (1934), and the Colquhoun of Luss copy (2008).

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Description

Duodecimo (174 x 100 mm). Contemporary calf, smooth spine gilt banded and with olive sprig motif, green morocco label. Housed in a dark blue morocco, blue baize lined drop-back box, title gilt to the spine.

Illustrations

Engraved emblematic frontispiece by J. Miller showing Corsica protected from French aggression by Britannia.

Condition

A little rubbed, corners bumped, endpapers slightly foxed, mild offset from frontispiece to title, pale toning, a very good copy.

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