(SOBIESKI.) COYER, l'Abbé Gabriel-François.

The History of John Sobieski, King of Poland. Translated from the French of M. L'abbé Coyer.

London: A. Millar, 1762 Stock Code: 139829

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First edition in English of the Abbé Coyer's biography of the great Polish hero Jan Sobieski (1629-1696), from 1674 king of Poland, renowned for his defeat of the Turks at the gates of Vienna in 1683. It was originally published in 1761 as Histoire de Jan Sobieski, Roi de Pologne and used verbatim by the assiduous Encyclopédiste Louis de Jaucort for the article on Poland in the Encyclopédie. The book caused a stir; Leonard Adams, in his Coyer and the Enlightenment (Voltaire Foundation, 1974), notes that Coyer "attempted to show the utter futility of war, French connivance and interference in the internal affairs of a foreign country, and the benefits to be derived from enlightened government". This attractive copy is from the library of Charles William Vane, third marquess of Londonderry (17781854), with his elaborate bookplate; his arms, with hussar supporters, including his many military awards. A brave but not particularly brilliant soldier, Sir John Moore described him as "a very silly fellow", Vane served with variable distinction throughout the Peninsular War. His Narrative of the war (1828), based on his correspondence with his half-brother Lord Castlereagh, was not uncontroversial. His dashing and dandified portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence is at the National Portrait Gallery.

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Octavo (197 x 124 mm). Contemporary speckled calf, spine ruled gilt in compartments, red morocco label, paired gilt fillet border to sides, red speckled edges.


Some light abrasions to binding, a touch of shelfwear. A very good copy in a well-preserved period binding.


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