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CHESTERFIELD, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of (1694--1773)
[Letters to his son. 1774]
Letters written by the late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, to his son, Philip Stanhope, Esq; late envoy extraordinary at the court of Dresden: together with several other pieces on various subjects. Published by Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope, from the originals now in her possession. In two volumes. Vol. I. (--II).
London: printed for J. Dodsley, 1774.
2 vols ; 27.7 cm. (4°)
I: [2], vii, [1], 568 p., engr. port. frontis.
II: [2], 606, [2] p.

First edition. Chesterfield, statesman and orator, sat in the House of Commons for forty years and was Walpole's most bitter antagonist. His political tracts were widely read and he was chiefly responsible for securing the adoption of the New Style Gregorian calendar in 1751, but he earned Dr Johnson's contempt for his abuse of literary patronage. His most serious interest throughout the second half of his life was the education of his natural son, Philip. Chesterfield began the correspondence when his son was barely five and continued writing regularly throughout Philip's life. His letters, written in English, French, and Latin, are often elaborate essays, including carefully considered instruction in all branches of learning and the social graces. Philip's early death in 1768 led to his father's decline, and, after Chesterfield's death in 1773, Philip's widow prepared the letters for publication. The work was immensely popular and went through 27 editions between 1774 and 1800, including five London editions in the year of its first publication. Volume I, p. 55, line 16 has '... qui auroit ...'; a variant has: '... quia uroit ...'. ESTC t136181.

Copy Notes Soane purchased a copy of Chesterfield's letters in two volumes from Floyer for £1 7s.. on 20 June 1803 (loose sheet in Acct Bk 1792--1805), and a second two-volume edition, quarto in boards, from Thomas Boone for 14s. on 8 July 1807 (Spiers Box); only the present copy, rebound by Soane, survives in the library.

Binding C19th diced russia calf, thin gilt roll-tooled borders, gilt double-ruled spines, marbled edges. Bound by Edwin Hutchinson for £1 1s., 5 January 1830. (Archives 7/14/40. Book binding)

Reference Number 1506


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