London: J. Wallis and Richard Phillips and Hurst, Robinson, and Co, 1803-24. 8vo. 26 volumes (bound as 25), set. Contemporary full polished tree calf with gilt tooling to the spines and red and black leather labels. Embellished with Engravings on Copper and Wood from Original Designs. Numerous illustrations throughout. Folding colour chart in volume 10. Covers scuffed on the spines and worn along the edges. Most corners are a little pushed. The front hinge of volume 20 is partly cracked at the top but still firm and sound. All but the last volume have a label on the front pastedown bearing Geo. Langborne's signature. Scattered foxing throughout, with the engraved frontispieces of Smollett's volumes particularly affected. Very good +. Item #5817
Hume's "History of England, from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688", in 10 volumes (1803), is followed by Smollett's "History of England, from the Revolution in 1688, to the Death of George II", in 6 volumes (1805). William Belsham's "History of Great Britain, from the Revolution, 1688, to the Conclusion of the Treaty of Amiens, 1802", in 12 volumes (1805) is next but lacks the first four volumes, which overlap with Smollett's work, and begins with volume 5 and the Accession of George III. After those 8 volumes, Belsham's "History of Great Britain, continued from the Treaty of Amiens, A.D. 1802, to the Termination of the Regency, A.D. 1820", 2 volumes bound together (1824), completes this collection. This last volume has been bound later in a similar but not quite matching design: the tooling is different and all the edges are stained yellow. Hume's History begins with his 14 page autobiography, dated April 18, 1776, followed by a letter from Adam Smith to William Strahan from November 1776 describing Hume's last illness and death. Volume 10 contains Notes on the previous 9 volumes, a folding, coloured 'Chart shewing the Revolutions, Colonies & Conquests of the British Empire from the Invasion by Julius Caesar till the Year 1804" by William Playfair, and a General Index. A complicated authorship should not distract from a continuous history of England and Great Britain from Julius Caesar's Invasion to the End of the Regency in 1820. The (almost) uniform binding holds it all together smartly despite showing some wear and tear.
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