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CHALMERS, George (1742--1825)
The life of Daniel De Foe. By George Chalmers, Esq.
London: printed for John Stockdale, 1790.
48, 45--86 [i.e. 90], [14] p. ; 23.5 cm. (8º)

First issued with other specimen pages as a prospectus of the edition of Defoe's The history of the union by John Stockdale in 1785, with which it was then published anonymously in 1786. George Chalmers, FRS and FRSA, chief clerk to the committee of the Privy Council, wrote extensively on Scottish antiquities and literature; he supported the authenticity of William Henry Ireland's forged Shakespearean manuscripts of Vortigern and Rowena in 1796 (q.v.), and antagonised Malone and Steevens; he contributed to the debate over the Junius letters and wrote a life of Thomas Paine. This new edition includes 'A List of Writings, which are considered as undoubtedly De Foe's.' (pp. 71--84) and 'A List of Books which are supposed to be De Foe's.' (pp. 84--86). This was the first attempt at a comprehensive bibliography of the writings of Defoe, who had mostly published anonymously and had many anonymous works attributed to him. (See P.N Furbank and W.R. Owens, Defoe de-attributions, London 1994, pp. xx--xxi.) With seven final leaves of publisher's advertisements.

Copy Notes Inscribed in ink on front free-endpaper From the author. Bought from W. Boone for 9s., 16 March 1822. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.4.8). The bibliography of Defoe is marked throughout with ticks and volume references in pencil, and the rear pastedown is annotated in the same hand, almost certainly the bookseller William Boone's, with eight further titles of works attributed to Defoe including Roxana, against which is the note query why not in [this?] / List. These marks and annotations appear to correspond to the contents of the uniformly bound 48-volume set of works by or attributed to Defoe, now in the Soane Museum (qq.v.).

Binding Late C18th russia, marbled-paper boards, gilt double-ruled spine.

Reference Number 744


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