Varied Antiquarian Material from Samuel Gedge Ltd.
Catalogue XIV from Samuel Gedge.
Samuel Gedge Ltd. Rare Books of Norwich, UK has issued their Catalogue XIV. Gedge offers a variety of antiquarian material, primarily English, with a concentration in the 18th century. Along with books there are manuscript letters and other documents, and various ephemeral items. There are no photographs, but that is because Gedge's material is too old for this type of representation. Drawings and paintings to capture the times, however, are to be found. These are a few of the items we found in this latest selection from Samuel Gedge.
Item 7 is a trade card for a very strange device, by today's standards anyway, though quite popular at the time (circa 1765). It is headed, At Margate in the Isle of Thanet, in Kent, is erected by Thomas Surflen, opposite the White Heart, a very commodious bathing machine... The bathing machine was not something in which to take a bath. It was a contraption designed to provide privacy in an era where men and women were not supposed to see each other on the beach. It was a modesty thing. This wheeled carriage, with a folding tent-like extension and barriers, was a place either a man or woman could change into appropriate bathing attire. It was wheeled down to the water's edge. The customer could then step out of it and into the water, the machine blocking the view of others on the beach. Sure sounds like this would take much of the fun out of swimming, but, hey, this was the 18th century. A horse was hooked up to the front to pull the device up through the sand when the swimmer was finished. Mr. Surflen notes that he is available to help gentlemen customers, while his daughter is present to assist the ladies. Priced at £650 (British pounds, or approximately $1,033 in U.S. currency).
In today's modern world, people insult each other by posting messages on some website or other, usually anonymously. This was not possible a couple of centuries ago, but evidently the need to insult was just as great. Instead, they would publish pamphlets insulting each other, and not necessarily anonymously. The “insultee” would then have to defend himself in a responding pamphlet. Pamphlet wars could go on for years. Item 71 is a letter and a responsive pamphlet from one Felice Mariottini, a learned man who had trouble finding a suitable position in Italy. Eventually he moved to London to become an instructor in the Italian language. There he discovered that Madame de Genlis, whose children he had tutored, had attacked him in her memoirs, claiming he had made repeated passes at her. In this letter (written in Italian) Mariottini defends himself. A copy of his pamphlet, Public testimonies, to oppose private misrepresentations concerning Mr. Mariottini's character and abilities, whatever they may be (1796), was included with the letter when originally sent, and is included here. £850 (US $1,351).
Varied Antiquarian Material from Samuel Gedge Ltd.
Manuscript letter from Nathaniel Ward.
Item 134 is a letter from a notable figure in very early American history. Nathaniel Ward was a Puritan clergyman who came to America in 1634. He served as a minister, but is most noted for writing the Body of Liberties. Adopted in 1641, it was the first legal code in America. Much of it was very humane and ahead of its time. Many of the individual rights it granted would later become part of the Bill of Rights. However, religious toleration was not one of Ward's strong suits, and he allowed for severe church authority and biblical punishments (death) for causes such as not worshiping the right god or witchcraft. This letter is addressed to Simon Stock, a Catholic missionary with whom he had running disagreements. It is filled with comments such as “you manifest your impudent arrogance,” and “logicke being an art that you are utterly unacquainted with.” This copy was evidently not sent to Stock, but a manuscript copy Ward sent to his friend Sir Edward Deering for review. It is undated, but based on references in it, would appear to be from 1642. £9,500 (US $15,102).
Not everyone focused on religion as a grounds for killing people. John Adams (not the American John Adams, but the rector of Blackawton) kept a commonplace book of his notes. On July 10, 1735, he wrote of some “motives to cheerfulness in religion.” One of those is, “God is your portion, Christ is your savior, the spirit is your guide, life is given you for your own improvement, death will be your gain & Heaven will be your home.” This is really much nicer. Item 2. £750 (US $1,192).
Item 57 is a collection of 8 documents concerning a terrible seafaring tragedy in 1833. The Amphitrite was a convict ship, transporting 106 women prisoners, 12 of their children, and a crew of 16 to Australia. It didn't get very far. She ran aground off the French coast. The French offered to bring the passengers into port for the night, but Captain John Hunter refused. He figured a rising tide would lift the boat free in the morning. After a storm began to brew he still refused all help. The winds and waves eventually tore the ship apart, and all but three of the crewmen who were good swimmers perished. The pieces in this collection were once possessed by William Hamilton, British consul at Boulogne-sur-Mer, whose actions that night were brought into question, but who was later exonerated. £1,250 (US $1,987).
Samuel Gedge Ltd. Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)1263 768 471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website is www.samuelgedge.com.