British and European Public Affairs, chiefly early-nineteenth century
SUBSTANTIAL COLLECTION OF POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND OTHER PAMPHLETS IN 21 VOLUMES:
including observations and reports (e.g. on the building of the proposed Union Canal between Falkirk and Edinburgh in 1814, the plan for the New Town between Edinburgh and Leigth, 1819, for the Edinburgh Academy, on education and schools in Scotland), descriptions (of the regalia of Scotland, of the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich), accounts (e.g. of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, 1831, with engraved frontispiece), catalogues (e.g. for the National Gallery of Practical Science, 1833), letters (e.g. to the Merchant Company of Edinburgh, on the French government, the state of France; with other works on the French Revolution), speeches, narratives of battles in the Napoleonic Wars (some with engraved plates), proclamations, reports from India on mutinies and other imperial affairs; and others (e.g. A Brief Account of the Mechitaristican Society founded in the Island of St. Lazaro. [Translated by Alexander Goode.], Venice, 1825--William Wright's Grotesque Architecture...1790, with engraved plates), several volumes of political and economic pamphlets, chiefly London and Edinburgh imprints; 4to and 8vo, some with the ownership signature of William Forbes, some presentation copies to Forbes, some volumes with annotations, nineteenth-century quarter calf, marbled boards (spines numbered 342, 343, 344, 346, 347, 348, 349, 350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 358, 359, 366, 367, 368, 369, 372, 373, 374), some bindings slightly scuffed or worn (22)
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The Forbes Baronetcy was created in 1626 for Sir William Forbes (d. circa 1650) by James VI in the Barontage of Nova Scotia. The majority of the works offered here were acquired by the sixth Baronet, also William (1739-1806), who added Pitsligo to his title in 1781. He was an eminent Scottish banker and benefactor, good friend of James Boswell and Samuel Johnson (see lots 45-46), and finally succeeded in recovering the Pitsligo estates forfeited after the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. His son William, the seventh baronet, beat Sir Walter Scott to the hand of the renowned beauty Williamina Belsches Stuart (1776-1810), and it was with their marriage that the family moved to her family seat, Fettercairn House in Kincardineshire, Aberdeenshire.
One of the sixth baronet’s acquisitions for his library at Pitsligo were numerous highly important miscellanies and tract volumes, many of which were purchased as a set from Edinburgh bookseller Elphinstone Balfour in October 1786. These were subsequently supplemented by further contemporary tracts and other works from the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century. Most of these miscellanies bear a nineteenth century Forbes family bookplate.