1744 The History of England during the Reigns of K William, Q Anne and K George I


Voluminous and scarce, 1744, first (and only) edition of James Ralph's The History of England during the reigns of K. William, Q. Anne and King George I: With an Introductory Review of the Reigns of the Royal Brothers, Charles and James, In Which are to be Found the Seeds of the Revolution

Printed in folio, in two volumes, with over one thousand pages each, this is an imposing work.

About the Work (from the William and Mary Law Library) -

James Ralph (d. 1762) spent his younger years in Philadelphia, acquainted with Benjamin Franklin and aspiring to be a poet. In 1724, he abandoned his family and moved to London where he lived on money borrowed from Franklin and found work teaching at a village school. When Franklin made sexual advances towards Ralph’s mistress, the two men had a falling out. In 1727, Ralph resumed his literary career, publishing a book of poetry known as The Tempest, or, The Terrors of Death.

Ralph intended his most important work, The History of England during the Reigns of King William, Queen Anne, and King George I, to be a continuation of William Guthrie’s A General History of England. Despite his intentions, the title is misleading because the work does not progress beyond King William’s reign.

The history sold poorly, but remains noteworthy for several reasons. Ralph incorporated far more documents into his analysis than his contemporary Paul de Rapin had used when writing his own English history. Additionally, Ralph gains distinction as the first historian to provide an in depth examination of the origins of the Glorious Revolution. His work also focused on economics and the financial revolution of the 1690s more than others covering the same period. Finally, Ralph departed from the norm of writing history from a partisan standpoint and pointed out the biases and errors in his predecessors’ analyses.

Bibliographic Details -

Worldcat OCLC number 28441855.

Physical Attributes -

Each vol. measures approx. 42 x 26 x 8 cm., folio. Leather bindings in the Cambridge style. Spines with five raised bands.

Pages -

Volume 1 - iv, 1078

Volume 2 - 1024, xiii (index), (1 blank)

Condition -

See pictures. Bindings were once respined with buckram, but that's become cracked and the rear board of both volumes are loose. Bindings are well-worn with lots or rubs, scrapes, edge wear etc. Spines chipping. Bookseller ticket on pastedown v1.

Bookseller notes on recto of frontis plate. Text block is toned throughout, with moisture mark from the top-edge, which does extend into text. Occasional thumb, dog-eared corner, rust spot, candle ember spot, etc. throughout. Graphite "x" on C6. Damp stain just at fore-edge throughout v1. Some damp-staining at inner gutter at rear of v1. Facing endpaper left paper on printer's mark v2. Stains from edges in v2 also. 3cm ink stain Q2 v2.

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