Antiquarian General Literature.
[BOLINGBROKE (Henry St. John, Viscount)]. Letters, On the Spirit of Patriotism: On the Idea of a Patriot King: And On the State of Parties, At the Accession of King George the First. London: Printed for A. Millar, opposite to Catharine- Street, in the Strand, 1750. F’cap 8vo format, but with the chain-lines running horizontally and no visible watermark; press figures are here present; half-title not called for; integral leaf of publisher’s advertisements at end; pp.[i]-vii+[i]+9-199+300-338 [pp.200-238 having been misnumbered]+[ii]; A4, B-I, K-P8, Q4; contemporary (probably publisher’s) full polished calf, spine with five bands raised over the cords, gilt rules, red lettering-piece; a.e. burnished brown. Calf slightly scratched, and rubbed a trifle at edges; end-papers and first and last leaf lightly marked from the turn-ins of the calf; a few neat, unobtrusive, contemporary marginalia in ink and pencil (v. note); otherwise a very nice, crisp, copy.
The second printing of the authorised text, and a different setting entirely from the first, which collated [i]+v-xi+[i]+9-251, the present edition being apparently by far the scarcer. To recommend himself to Frederick, prince of Wales, Bolingbroke entrusted to Alexander Pope his unpublished manuscript of three works: ‘The patriot king’ dated December 1738; an essay previously written upon the ‘Spirit of patriotism’ and afterwards addressed to Lord Lyttelton; and a paper on ‘The state of parties at the accesssion of George I.’ According to the introductory ‘Advertisement’, written anonymously by David Mallet, Pope was supposed to show them to a handful of named people, but not to publish them generally. Instead he had 1,500 copies of ‘The patriot king’ run off and left with the printer until further instructed, intending them to be published, presumably, after Bolingbroke’s death, which did not happen until 1751. Pope himself died in 1744, after which the printer apparently contacted Bolingbroke and placed the sheets in his hands, when, apart from one set, kept for himself, he destroyed them. A handful of copies had been abstracted by Pope, however, and one of these fell into the hands of a magazine that began publishing garbled extracts. Bolingbroke, who had never considered the mss. to have been finally finished in any case, decided to revise them and have them published in a form that he approved. The criticism of Pope that was contained in Mallet’s introduction led to a controversy, Warburton publishing a defence of Pope. The longest of the contemporary ink notes in this copy appears at the end of the Advertisement and reads: “This Charge of Lord Bolingbroke agt. Mr. Pope is urged in a very malignant Manner” and notes that Pope is “defended in Miscellanies No.14.” The others identify contemporary references. The front paste-down bears the engraved armorial bookplate of the Rev. Gervas Powell L.L.B. pasted over an earlier bookplate, apparently of the same family origin, whilst the free end-paper bears a twentieth century bookplate designed by Sally Gee, recording the volume’s residence in the ‘Tregaer Collection’ of G.C.H. & D.U.V. Phillips. STC T26233; Sabin, 75238.