MACAULAY, Catharine.

The History of England

from the accession of James I to the elevation of the House of Hanover. Edit. III.

London: printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, 1769-72 Stock Code: 139980

"No other woman before her had written history of the kind that she wrote" (ODNB)

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First octavo edition, complete to that date (the first four volumes dated 1769, the fifth bearing no edition statement and dated 1772). Catharine Macaulay's history was published episodically, the first volume in 1763, the fourth in 1768, and the fifth (covering events to the Restoration) in 1772. Her decision to leave London for Bath in 1774 to improve her health, which had been badly affected by the effort of completing her latest volume, led to a hiatus and publication was not resumed until two more volumes appeared in 1781 and the eighth and final volume in 1783. Macaulay's freely expressed republican ideas and warmly expressed sympathy for the colonists had significant influence in America, and through her History she became acquainted with Benjamin Franklin, Josiah Quincy, Benjamin Rush, Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, Ezra Styles, and Jonathan Mayhew, many of whom visited her in Britain.

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5 volumes (all published to date), octavo (214 x 126 mm). Contemporary polished tree calf, twin red and green morocco spine labels, compartments elaborately tooled in gilt, rope-twist roll in gilt to raised bands, leaf-and-flower border in gilt to boards, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, green book markers.


Engraved medallion portrait frontispiece to vol. 1.


Engraved bookplates to front pastedowns of Edward Greathed (perhaps the British Army officer, 1812-1881), ink shelfmark ("No. 270") to vol. 1 front free endpaper verso, contemporary note laid in between vol. 2 pp. 108/109 (comprising a list of book titles). Lightly rubbed, some very minor wear to spine ends, a few joints just starting but remaining firm, a couple of instances of stripping to rear boards; contents generally crisp and clean, the occasional spot or faint finger mark, vol. 3 leaf S7 creased vertically to protect overhanging fore edge. A handsomely bound set.


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