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The History of England

From The Revolution to the Death of George the Second

Designed as a Continuation of Mr Hume's History

In Four Volumes

By T. Smollett

1841 - London - T. Cadell

9" by 5.5"; (xii) 582pp.; (xii) 553pp.; (xi) 521pp.; (vii) 536pp.

 

DETAILS

A complete set of Smollett's history of England, spanning from the reign of William and Mary in 1689 to the death of George II in 1760.

The works were originally designed as a continuation of the work of David Hume, an eminent historian of the eighteenth century. Hume's works ended with the deposition of the Catholic James II in favour of his Protestant sister Mary, and her Dutch husband William of Orange.

'In fourteen months from 1755 to 1757 Smollett wrote his four-volume Complete History of England, having instructed his servant to deny me to all those with whom I had no express business (Letters, 46). Revised in 1758, the Complete History was offered for sale in 100 sixpenny weekly pamphlets, and by 28 September 1758 he noted with satisfaction that weekly sales exceeded 10,000 copies (ibid., 73), realizing 500 for the author. Hume wrote to Andrew Millar, bookseller, of this extraordinary run upon Dr. Smollett (Hume, Letters, 1.273), and he jocularly reproved William Robertson for replacing him near the historical summit of Parnassus, immediately under Dr. Smollett (ibid., 1.302). The success of Smollett's History may be explained by reference to his statement of intent in his prefatory Plan: his approach is factual, not theoretical or philosophical; he will eschew conjecture and national, religious, and political partiality; he will consult only the most legitimate of sources; and his style will make his material accessible. Inevitably there were dissonant voices, and Smollett was accused of being Jacobite and papist, most notably by Thomas Comber. Whig policy towards Scotland, and what he perceived as the corruption of Walpole's administration, had weakened his enthusiasm for the party to which his family was traditionally loyal. Surprised to hear of Glaswegian approval, he predicted the last volume will be severely censured by the west country whigs of Scotland, but he reiterated I have, as far as in me lay, adhered to Truth without espousing any faction (Letters, 65). In 1758 he took charge of the production of a Universal History and contributed the sections on France, Italy, and Germany.' DNB

With frontispiece to volume I.

Complete in four volumes.

CONDITION

In cloth bindings. Externally sound, though with some wear to the spines and bumping to the corners. Slightly rubbed.  Internally, firmly bound. Pages are quite clean, with just some marginal age-toning and some offsetting from the frontispiece to the title page. Some small closed tears to pages.  Many pages unopened. Overall: GOOD.

 


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