8vo., (8 ½ x 5 3/8). (Without the folding table, faint damp stains to front free endpapers.) Contemporary half speckled calf, drab paper boards. The smooth spine gilt-ruled into six compartments with a red morocco lettering piece in one (hinges starting at head of spine, a bit rubbed).
Provenance: Armorial bookplate of the Earl of Rosebery to front pastedown.
First edition. A very clean copy of a history of British North America, published at the very start of the Revolutionary War. It was intended to inform the public in England about the state of affairs in the American colonies. “In the catalogue of the Brunswick library this work is said to be by Paul Wein, with the following note: ‘So much of the author’s name as is given above is written upon the title-page. The remainder was cut off in binding the work’” (Sabin vol. IV, p. 337). This particular copy comes from the library of the fifth earl of Rosebery, Archibald Philip Primrose (1847–1929), who served various functions in Parliament as a member of the Liberal Party, including Prime Minister from 1894-1895. After his wife Hannah de Rothschild’s death in 1890, he suffered ill health and a mental breakdown amid a scandal of allegations of homosexual activity. A collector of fine and rare books, “Rosebery wrote a number of literary and historical essays, many of which were edited by John Buchan and published in his Miscellanies (2 vols., 1921). He published two essay-length lives—Sir Robert Peel (1899) and Oliver Cromwell (1899)—and four books. The first was a study of William Pitt the younger—a distant relative on his mother's side whose standard life was by Rosebery's grandfather Lord Stanhope; it was commissioned by John Morley for Macmillan's Twelve English Statesmen series and published in 1891. Three other biographical studies—Napoleon: the Last Phase (1900), Lord Randolph Churchill(1906), and Chatham: his Early Life and Connections (1910)—punctuated his semi-retirement. Each displays its author’s wit and verbal fluency, though each has its longueurs, suggesting that Rosebery was ideally a miniaturist in prose…. In general the professional reception of Rosebery’s books was reserved, but lay reviewers were enthusiastic, and the books sold well. Pitt, which disappointed Morley, went through twenty-seven printings between 1891 and 1962” (John Davis for DNB). A very good copy with a distinctive provenance.