The Decline and Fall of the British Empire; or, The Witch's Cavern.

Second thousand.

London: Trischler & Company, 1890 Stock Code: 122191
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"England has degenerated into a wild and primitive land, largely as a result of climatic changes"

First edition, second impression, presentation copy from the author, inscribed at the head of the half-title, "To E. W. Wallington, with the author's compliments". The recipient is almost certainly Sir Edward William Walllington (1854-1933), at this time secretary to the Earl of Hopetoun, Governor of Victoria, future Groom of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales (1903-1910), Groom-in-Waiting to Edward VII and Private Secretary to the Queen from 1910.

Watson (1839-1901) was born and educated in Tasmania and practised as a clergyman in New Zealand. "Decline and Fall... is a curious work in which the narrator, an Australian named William Furley, is transported back in time from his thirtieth-century world to that of Victorian London. In an introductory letter dated 2992, Furley presents a world in which British civilisation exists most strongly in Australia, an agriculturally developed independent republic ruled by a president from its capital Eyreton. There, people travel by electric land-cars and fast air transportation, and an extensive trade is carried on with China... England has degenerated into a wild and primitive land, largely as a result of climatic changes brought about by the disappearance of the Gulf Stream that now flows through the Panama Canal into the Pacific. Wolves range throughout the country, particularly in the north, and London, population 20, 000, has been reduced to ruins" (Howgego).

Highly uncommon: Library Hub locates copies of this issue at British Library, Cambridge and Oxford only; the first impression at Trinity College, Dublin, only; WorldCat cites around a dozen in institutional libraries worldwide.

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Octavo. Original slate green cloth over bevelled boards, gilt lettered spine and front cover, pale green endpapers patterned with an oak leaf-and-acorn motif.


Minimal shelf-wear, a few minor marks to top and fore-edge, endpapers and half-title a little foxed. A superior copy.


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