Literature and Public Affairs
COLLECTION OF APPROXIMATELY 46 SEVENTEENTH- AND EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY WORKS IN SIX VOLUMES:
[Nicholls, Thomas.] Shenstone; or, the force of benevolence. A poem. For the author, 1776--[Tait, John.] Poetical Legends: containing the American Captive, and the Fatal Feud... John Davidson, 1776, without the two final advertisement leaves [Adams 76-151; Sabin 63647]--More, Hannah. Sir Eldred of the Bower, and the Bleeding Rock. For T. Cadell, 1776--[Haweis, Thomas.] Ruth. A Sacred Oratorio. The Third Edition. For the benefit of the Lock-Hospital, 1773--Jennens, Charles. Messiah: an Oratorio...set to Music by Mr. Handel. For the administrator of J. Watts, [?1767]--[Barron, William.] History of the Colonization of the Free States of Antiquity, applied to the present contest between Great Britain and her American Colonies. For T. Cadell, 1777 [Adams 77-18a]--A Description of Killarney. for J. Dodsley, 1776, engravings--Stewart, Captain Robert. Narrative of a transaction which passed in Bengal in 1782-3, between James Fraser and...the executors of the late Lieutenant-Colonel Hannay. [London]: 1787; with answers and related works--Jemmat, Catherine. Miscellanies in Prose and Verse...for the author, 1766--Williams, Anna. Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. For T. Davies, 1766; with numerous others, including poetical pamphlets, Letters, works on the Popish Plot, the trial of Robert Earl of Essex, the trial of Capt. John Porteus, and Land Inventories, and one volume of Miscellaneous State Papers; chiefly 4to, some pamphlets with the ownership signature of Sir William Forbes, various bindings, chiefly late eighteenth- or early nineteenth-century quarter calf, marbled boards (spines numbered 6, 44, 48, the others unnumbered), bindings worn (6)
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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.