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Price: £290.00

  

The Complete Works in Ten Volumes

The History of Scotland during the Reigns of Queen Mary, and of King James VI.
The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V.
The History of America.
An Historical Disquisition concerning the Knowledge which the Ancients had of India and the Progress of Trade with that Country. 

By William Robertson

1803 - London - A. Strahan

8.5" by 5"

 

DETAILS

A set of historical books penned by William Robertson, historian and Church of Scotland minister.

The History of Scotland was published in two volumes on 1 February in London, and its reception was all that he could wish. By March Robertson found himself overwhelmed with a whole torrent of praise (Robertson to G. Elliot, March 1759, NL Scot., MS 11008, fol. 92). A second edition was published in April, and by 1761 four had been published, with a French translation following in 1764.The book was a huge success because Robertson appeared to his readers to move Scotland into the mainstream of polite culture. His study of elocution and style had enabled him to craft prose that was harmonious, balanced, and, above all, correct metropolitan English. In the field of historical writing in particular no one had yet achieved such a magisterial style.

Though occupied with church and university, Robertson was also engaged on his next history, the work that he hoped would enhance his European reputation. By the end of 1759 he was firmly decided upon the history of the reign of Charles V. Through Charles V he could explore the dynastic struggle of Charles and Francis I, leading to the overarching theme of the emergence of the balance of power in Europe, the wider context of his Scottish history. The book's structure initially was a conventional political narrative, related in chronological order and centred on Charles's life and career.

After the publication of Charles V, Robertson quickly turned to a new historical project. In the book's preface he noted that he had to omit discussion of New World colonization for reasons of proportion and coherence, but he acknowledged that his account of Europe in the sixteenth century was incomplete without it. By the autumn of 1769 he began withdrawing books on America from the university library. On 28 May 1777 the History of America was published in two volumes by Strahan and Cadell in London and Balfour in Edinburgh, again to a very positive reception. Its success was even more marked on the continent, where it was considered Robertson's masterpiece (in Suard's translation), and went through nine editions between 1777 and 1780.

Robertson's regained vigour also led him to a new historical work. During the 1780s his attention gradually turned to India. He had broached the question of India's contact with the West in the opening chapter of the History of America, and various personal contacts reinforced that interest.These personal connections, coupled with the opening of the trial of Warren Hastings in 1788 and the publication of John Logan's Dissertation on the Government of Asia (1787) and James Rennell's Memoir of the Map of Hindoostan  (the latter, first published in 1783, was greatly admired by Robertson, who used its new 1788 edition), led him to write An Historical Disquisition Concerning the Knowledge which the Ancients had of India, which Strahan, Cadell, and Balfour published in a single volume on 4 June 1791. The Disquisition  falls into two main parts: the first two-thirds is a narrative of the commercial contacts India had with the outside world from ancient times to the sixteenth century; the remainder is a long appendix describing Indian culture. The narrative portion documents, gathers, and summarizes familiar but scattered material; the appendix is broadly descriptive and more innovative, following the pattern developed in the descriptive chapters of the History of America. (DNB)

Contains two folding maps and an engraved frontispiece of Charles V in Volume III of The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V.

Armorial bookplates bearing the name 'William Phillips' to each front pastedown.

Containing volumes I, III and IV of four of The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V, volumes I,III, and IV of four of The History of America, volumes I-III of three of The History of Scotland during the Reigns of Queen Mary, and of King James VI, and An Historical Disquisition concerning the Knowledge which the Ancients had of India and the Progress of Trade with that Country in one volume.

CONDITION

In full calf bindings. Externally sound with slight rubbing. Loss to backstrip on Volume I of History of America. Front board of volume IV of The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V held by cords only, and front board of volume I detached completely. Front board of volume II of The History of Scotland also detached. Internally, all tightly bound. Pages are generally bright and clear, with some scattered light foxing on certain volumes. Overall: GOOD.

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Price: £290.00


What Our Customers Say...

Hovann, Switzerland

The book safely arrived today. So many thanks for everything.

Ken, UK

Many thanks for the consignment, which arrived yesterday. Amazing, over 300 years old, and I am sitting here reading them as did people when they were published in the reign of George III ! Amazing find, I love them.

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