ANTIQBOOK
  fine books  -  fair prices
   Search Antiqbook   


Ask a question or
Order this book


Browse our books
Search our books
Book dealer info



Title: The Prince of Abissinia. A Tale.
Description: London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley...and W. Johnston..., 1759. FIRST EDITION. 2 volumes. Small 8vo, 150 x 94 mms., pp. [iii] iv - viii, 159 - 160 blank; [iii] iv - viii, 165 [166 blank], with leaf a2 in volume 2 reading "CONTENTS/ OF THE/ SECOND VOLUME," and on page 161 of volume 2 in the second line, the reading "indisceperpible," and the verso of D5 (age 106) in volume 2 signed D4, page 45 in volume 2 not numbered and the running title with the last "A" in "ABYSSINNA" in italics and spaced from rest of word, contemporary calf, red leather laebls; front free end-paper in each volume detached from inner margin, joints cracked (but firm), extremities worn, but a fair to good copy,with the presentation inscription on the front paste-down end-paper, "The gift of Mrs. Peareth/ to/ Dorothy Robertson," and the autograph "Miss Burrell" on the top margin of the title-page in each volume. Edmund Burke reviewed the novel in The Annual Register, beginning with the assertion that, "in this novel the moral is the principle, and the story is a mere vehicle to convey the instruction. Accordingly the tale is not near so full of incidents, or so diverting in itself, if the ingenious author, if he had not had higher views, might easily have made it; neither is the distinction of character sufficiently attended to: but with these defects, perhaps no book ever inculcated a purer and sounder morality; no book ever made a more just estimate of human life, its pursuits, and its enjoyments." Like many people, Burke was aware of the identity of the author and observed at the end of the review, "there is no doubt he is the same who has done so much for the improvement of our taste and our morals, and employed a great part of his life in an astonishing work for the fixing of the language of this nation; whilst this nation, which admires his works, and profits by them, has done nothing for the author." The giver in the inscription, "Mrs. Peareth", is no doubt the immensely wealthy female philanthropist Susanna (or Susan) Peareth (1752-1821), daughter and co-heiress of Collingwood Foster, Esq., of Alnwick. Collingwood Foster was an attorney at law, and an agent of the Duke of Northumberland, whose seat was Alnwick Castle. Susanna married William Peareth (1734-1810) of Usworth House, County Durham. By the 1820s, Mrs Peareth's wealth was valued at 14,000, according to an entry in the Special Collections catalogue of Durham University Library (). The inscription "Miss Burrell" in the present copy of Johnson's Rasselas may well be connected to the family of William Peareth's kinswoman Barbara Peareth (c.1759-1828), who married John Burrell of Bassington, a village near Alnwick, in 1775. Moreover, a certain William Burrell was one of the executors of Susan Peareth's last will and testament, and his name is frequently mentioned in the will, which is many pages in length (PROB 11/1657/74, National Archives, Kew). For more on these persons and families, see Burke's Landed Gentry, 6th edition (1882), Vol. 2, p. 1248; Joseph Michael Fewster, "The Politics and Administration of the Borough of Morpeth in the later Eighteenth Century", University of Newcastle Ph.D. thesis, 1960, pp. 191, 240 (); and the "Pedigree of Peareth, of Usworth" in Robert Surtees's chapter "Parish of Washington" in The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 2, Chester Ward (London, 1820), pp. 40-49, accessible via British History Online (). Susanna Peareth is known even today in County Durham as the founder of a school for local children, which she endowed in 1814, four years after her husband's death and seven years before hers. A commemorative Blue Plaque was erected on the building of the school (still standing, though now a pub) in 2019 (). An old photograph of the school building, and a painted portrait of the foundress, can be seen online (, ). The aforementioned John Burrell is presumably the man of that name who appears in the list of subscribers to John Carr's book The Grove or Rural Harmony (1760), to which a certain "Mr Samuel Johnson" subscribed as well. (Johnson's first honorary doctorate would not be bestowed upon him until five years later; hence he was still, at this time, "Mr Johnson" rather than "Dr Johnson".) The ESTC finds no presentation inscriptions and no book ownership inscriptions relating to the philanthropist Susanna Peareth. In fact, the name Peareth is nowhere to be found in the ESTC database. Fleeman 59.4R/1. Rothschild 1242. The printer was William Strahan, who printed 1500 copies.

Keywords: fiction morality literature

Price: GBP 3025.00 = appr. US$ 4319.65 Seller: John Price Antiquarian Books
- Book number: 9305

See more books from our catalog: Fiction


Hundreds of the world's finest antiquarian and used booksellers offer their books on Antiqbook. They offer full satisfaction and normal prices - no markups, no hidden costs, no overcharged shipping costs. 8 million books at your fingertips!
Search all books at Antiqbook