JUNIUS. STAT NOMINIS UMBRA [The Letters of Junius]

(London: By T. Bensley, 1805).

An elegant large paper edition of a classic. The "letters of Junius" were originally contributed to the London "Public Advertiser" from the 21st of January 1769 to the 21st of January 1772 and were intended to discredit the ministry of the duke of Grafton (although their political content is of little interest now, and indeed had little effect in their time). Their interest lies in their style and the controversy regarding their authorship. In the former they imitate Swift, Bolingbroke, and Tacitus, and use those influences to perfect the popular practice of using personal abuse in political controversy. The Encyclopedia Britannica states it succinctly: "The white heat of his malignity animates the whole."
The authorship mystery kept people guessing for two generations, and discussions had hardly ceased by 1910. Joseph Parkes, the author with Herman Merivale of MEMOIRS OF SIR PHILIP FRANCIS (1867), gives a list of over forty persons who had been supposed to be Junius, among them Edmund Burke, Edward Gibbon, Horace Walpole, and Charles Lee, a general in the American Revolution. Opinion has since laid responsibility solidly upon Sir Philip Francis, miscellaneous writer and sometime dean of Lismore. Item #27925

2 volumes. First Edition Thus and a large paper copy with wide margins, a new edition of the revised version of the "Letters," with a dedication to the English people and a preface. With engraved titles and 21 stipple engraved portraits by Ridley, Hopwood and others, the tissue guards present. Tall 8vos, bound in maroon crushed morocco over cloth covered boards, the spines with blind ruled flat bands and two gilt lettered compartments, t.e.g. xxxi, 252; iii, 284 pp. A fine set.

Price: $295.00