A FULL | ACCOUNT | OF THE | ACTIONS| Of the late Famous | PYRATE, | Capt. KIDD.| With the Proceedings againſt Him, and a Vindication | of the Right Honourable Richard Earl of Bellomont, | Lord Coloony, late Governor of New-England, and | other Honourable Perſons, from the Unjuſt Reflecti- | ons caſt upon tehm [sic]. | [rule 121 mm] By a Perſon of Quality. | [rule 121 mm] | DUBLIN: | Re-printed for Matthew Gunn, bookſeller in Eſſex-street, 1701.
For this project, I looked at A full account of the actions of the late famous pyrate, Capt. Kidd. With the proceedings against him, and a vindication of the Right Honourable Richard earl of Bellomont, Lord Coloony, lategovernor of New-England, and other honourable persons, from the unjust reflections cast upon tehm [sic]. By a person of quality. The last word of the title “them” is spelled “t-e-h-m.” The preface is titled “The publisher to the reader” which explains the background and the purpose of the two letters in this book, which is an account of a famous Scottish sailor who was executed for piracy in May 1701.
This edition is re-printed for Matthew Gunn, a bookseller in Dublin, Ireland. According to A dictionary of the printers and booksellers who were at work in England, Scotland and Ireland from 1668 to 1725 (1922), “Gunn or Gunne (Matthew), bookseller and printer in Dublin, Bible and Crown, Essex Street, 1694-1710 (?). Described as a bookseller in 1694; in 1695 he published a tract, The Rector’s Case. In 1696, he printed a quarto tract; but he appears most often as a seller or publisher of books and not as a printer. He bought books largely at Dunton’s auction at Dublin in 1698. He was (still) living in 1710 and perhaps later” (p.136). There are more than ten books printed or sold by Matthew Gunn between 1693-1702 as stated in the English Short Title Catalogue.
Although the author is ‘a person of quality’, according to the catalogue from the New York Public Library and Bauman Rare Books Spring 2018 (p.45), the authorship variously attributed to Dr. John Mitchell, Lord Somers or Lord Halifax. John Mitchell (1711-1768), a respected British physician, botanist, chemist, biologist, and surveyor, who made a map of North America (Donald A. Heald Rare Books, Prints and Maps). However, I believe Mitchell’s time to live does not correspond to the time the book was published. Lord Somers, in full John Somers, Baron Somers of Evesham (1651-1716), English statesman, chief minister to King William III of England from 1696 to 1700, and a leader of an influential group, the Whigs, who were also known as the Junto from 1696 to 1716. Charles Montagu, 1st earl of Halifax (1661-1715), also called (1700–14) Baron Halifax Of Halifax, Whig statesman, a financial genius who created several of the key elements of England’s system of public finance (Encyclopædia Britannica).
Descriptive and Analytical bibliography
The collation formula is 4°: [A]2 B-E4 F2 [$1-2 (-F2)]. 20 leaves, pp. 4, 1-8 [9-16 omitted] 17-42 [=40]
This book is a quarto in fours, I determined this by the gatherings, of which there are four leaves in each, as well as a horizontal chain line and watermarks in the center of the gutter. There are exposed sewing thread in the gutter of leaf D2 and D3, E2 and E3. Each gathering is regularly signed A-F for the first and second leaves.
At the end of the book, one blank leaf is clearly original due to the fact it has the same texture and chain lines as the previous page. Additionally, each sheet was folded twice, as evident by the similar trimmed edge seen spread over the title page and the last blank leaf (Fig. 4 and 5). The text is complete and the signature is continuous despite the pagination, omitted page number 9 to 16. Each page with the first word of the following page set as a catchword at the end of the direction line. There is no marginalia in this book.
This book features an interesting mix of roman and italic typeface. which corresponds to the figures in Gaskell’s book (1995, p.25-27), the italic text and roman types are similar to the type of Christoffel Van Dijck and the Janson-Ehrhardt style. Christoffel Van Dijck (1601-1669) was the pre-eminent type designer of Dutch typefaces. His Dutch version was assumed to be based on the type used by William Caslon for his roman type, was more condensed and robust in weight (“Type Design in Northern Europe”). According to Gaskell’s book (1995), “There were two main trends in the new type-designs of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: one was towards an increase of contrast, combined with a movement of stress from oblique and vertical; the other was toward narrower types of large x-height” (p.26). The finest example of this ‘Baroque’ type Janson-Ehrhardt style, probably cut by the Nicolas Kis in the 1680s, is better known by the names of the Leipzig foundries of Janson and Ehrhardt which owed the matrices.
Additionally, the typeface in this book also shows typical long s ‘ʃ’, contractions that sometimes because ‘e’ was a valuable and much used letter from the print case such as publiʃh’d, diʃpleas’d, form’d, and the stylized ampersand, which means ‘et cetera’ normally abbreviated ‘etc.’
As shown by the added stubs between leaves D3, 4 and E3, 4, a paper mended record on the preface page and the trimmed pages to the point where pagination has been removed, this book had been repaired.
we can identify the binder’s name stamped in gold on the inside bottom, this book was rebound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in red Moroccan leather with gold tooling. The front and back boards are framed by a gilt fillet close to the borders of the binding. Sangorski & Sutcliffe was founded in 1901 and is one of the oldest and an extremely well-known bookbinding companies in England specializing in fine binding, restoration and the conservation of books and manuscripts. Their most famous work was a fabulous copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which was also known as the Great Omar. This was a magnificent Sangorski & Sutcliffe binding that took the firm over two years to produce. Unfortunately, it went down with the ship Titanic in 1912, and was never recovered.
The paper is laid with horizontal chain lines, wire lines and deckle edges. There are various watermarks in the leaves B1, B4, C3, D4, E2 and E4. The watermarks in the leaves B1 and B4 should be the same one and was cut into two parts, however, the watermarks in each signature are all different. The watermarks are buried extremely deep in the gutter, thus it is hard to recognize the whole pattern.
A bookplate pasted on the inside cover showed “The Gordon Lester Ford Collection, The New York Public Library. Purchased from the Ford Fund established by Emily Ellsworth Ford Skeel in memory of Gordon Lester Ford and Emily Ellsworth Fowler Ford.” On the gutter portion of the back end-sheet there is also a purchased record that indicates the New York Public Library bought this book from R. Hatchwell on December 24, 1962. Emily Ellsworth Ford Skeel (1867-1958) was a bibliographer, editor and philanthropist. She is the youngest of seven children of Gordon Lester Ford (1823-1891) and Emily Fowler Ford (1826-1893), and the great-granddaughter of Noah Webster (1758-1843). Her father was a railroad and a real-estate magnate, a lawyer and a collector of Americana. Like her older brothers Worthington Chauncey Ford and Paul Leicester Ford, Skeel did historical research and compiled bibliographies on Parson Weems and Noah Webster. Skeel did not go to college, however she travelled and made use of her father’s library. In 1891, she married Roswell Skeel, Jr. (1866-1922) and they contributed time and money to various organizations and causes concerned with social reform or environmental conservation. The New York Public Library contains a lot of collections that consist of books, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks and printed matter from the Ford family (NYPL Archives and Manuscripts Divisions).
Anyone interested in law, biography or maritime stories would find this book useful. Captain William Kidd (c.1645-1701), sometimes also called Robert Kidd, who had an unfortunate career as a pirate. He was first appointed by the British authorities to tackle piracy with a ‘letter of Marque’, but he was not very good at finding pirates. Finally, his crew forced him to become a pirate himself. In the meantime, there had been a switch in the opinion towards piracy in England, and it was made an illegal act. Captain Kidd later became a criminal and was hanged on May 23, 1701. After his death, his legend grew, especially the ones relating to the stories of buried treasure. Authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson with his book “Treasure Island” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Gold Bug” helped fuel the myth. People have been looking for Captain Kidd’s treasure for the past 300 years. Surprisingly, on May 7, 2015, a 50kg silver bar was discovered in Madagascar by a US underwater explorer, Barry Clifford, the bar is said to be from the wreckage of Captain Kidd’s ship, the Adventure Galley (BBC News).
There are two digital copies of this book online through the Gale database. One is in Sabin Americana 1500-1926, reproduced original from Huntington Library (Sabin no. 37704). The other one is in the Eighteenth Century Collections Online, reproduced original from the British Library. However, some parts of the digital files have poor scanning quality, I would lend this book to other institutions for such a purpose as an exhibition as long as proper handling and presentation were ensured. Aside from an insect bite on the title page, this book is in fairly stable conditions. The binding is still beautiful and is holding everything together nicely and the paper itself is in good condition.
Condition and valuation
As listed in the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC), there are nine copies in the United Kingdom and eight copies in North America, in the following institutions: Folger Shakespeare, Harvard University Law Library, Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, Indiana University, The Lilly Library, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, New York Public Library, United States, Library of Congress and University of Chicago. According to the catalogue in the Christie’s East Auction of December 12, 2000, lot 117, the same edition was sold for $1,175. If I lend this book to an institution, I will perhaps double the cost for insurance purposes. In addition, the copy in NYPL is a Named Copy, so the value will double.
This book was also published under the title: A full account of the proceedings in relation to Capt. Kidd. In two letters. Written by a person of quality to a kinsman of the Earl of Bellomont in Ireland. Printed and sold by the booksellers of London and Westminster, 1701. This is also in quarto format. NYPL has two copies, one is from the Emmet Collection and the other is from the Ford Collection. According to Bauman Rare Books’ spring catalogue in 2018, the price of this edition is $15,000. There are 47 copies in UK and the North America. Additionally, in the same year, a second edition was also published under the same title. NYPL has one copy in its Lenox collection and 14 copies in the UK and North America.
While I was looking for information from the bookseller, I saw an interesting story from Trinity College Library in Dublin. Peter (2014) states that, “In 1715, the library suffered a series of thefts carried out by ‘sculls’, odd-job men or errand-boys employed by the college… Matthew Gunn, one of the booksellers who had bought several of the stolen books, initially refused to return them, but was eventually prevailed upon, on payment of £2 15s. 101/2d.” This theft story encouraged me to do more research of the book trade in the late seventeenth century in Ireland. As I described in the previous paragraph that Matthew Gunn bought books largely at Dunton’s auction at Dublin. According to the Book Auction in England in the Seventeenth Century, John Lawler (1898) stated that, John Dunton, an entrepreneurial bookseller from London, held his first auction in Dublin in the summer of 1698 with near ten tons of books. It was an invaluable record of the Dublin book trade at that period, and also Dunton was very familiar with leading booksellers and book buyers (p.209).
There are three different editions published in the same year 1701. I am curious about the purpose and the order of publication. Although they are under different titles and perhaps different booksellers or publishers, they have the similar content. As a clue at the end of the book, A Full Account of the Proceedings in relation to Capt. Kidd. (the first edition), there is a statement of some errors and their correction inserted. Corresponding to the page two Line 11 of this book, the book I worked with, the Dublin edition, could be determined the later edition because these errors had been corrected.
Furthermore, A Full Account of the Proceedings in relation to Capt. Kidd (the first edition) had the page number from one to 51 and the second edition had the page number from one to 41. The layout of both of the books printed in London is relatively loose, thus I can be more certain that the book of Dublin edition was published later. I also assumed the reason why the page number 9 to 16 was omitted, because the printer might compress the printed space but still wanting to reach the same page number.
British Library. (n.d.). English Short Title Catalogue. Retrieved from http://estc.bl.uk/F/FEMBPYMQKLPNKG8XNDPYTK5AYMGX9P9SYXLLR3QR523 LMKFLT1-00330?func=find- b&request=Matthew+Gunn&find_code=WPU&adjacent=N&image.x=39&image.y=11
Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax. (n.d.). In Encyclopædia Britannica online. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-Montagu-1st-Earl-of-Halifax
Carter, J., & Barker, N. (2004). ABC for book collectors. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press.
Emily Ellsworth Ford Skeel papers (n.d.). In New York Public Library archives and manuscripts online. Retrieved from http://archives.nypl.org/mss/2766
Fox, Peter. (2014). Trinity College Library Dublin: a history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gaskell, Philip. (1995). A new introduction to bibliography. Winchester, UK: Oak Knoll Press
John Somers, Baron Somers. (n.d.). In Encyclopædia Britannica online. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Somers-Baron-Somers https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Somers-Baron-Somers
Johnson, Ben. (n.d.). Captain William Kidd. In Historic UK online. Retrieved from https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofScotland/Captain-William-Kidd/
Mairekennedybooks, (2017). Book mad: the sale of books by auction in eighteenth-century Ireland. Retrieved from https://mairekennedybooks.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/book-mad-the-sale-of-books-by-auction-in-eighteenth-century-ireland/#_ednref1
Mitchell, John (n.d.). Donald A. Heald Rare Books, Prints and Maps. Retrieved from https://www.donaldheald.com/pages/books/35033/john-mitchell/the-contest-in-america-between-great-britain-and-france-with-its-consequences-and-importance-by-an
Lawler, John. (1898) Book Auctions In England in the Seventeenth Century (1676-1700) London. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=P0NFAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA209&lpg=PA209&dq=d unton%27s+auction+dublin&source=bl&ots=tFoPep7CTA&sig=dYc7Ii6iifxbZsGg1TZf 93_5uyY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiCstGJqeDaAhUET98KHWu3CgIQ6AEIUzAE#v=onepage&q=dunton’s%20auction%20dublin&f=false
Pirate Captain Kidd’s treasure found in Madagascar. (2015, May 5). BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32621444
Plomer, Henry R. (1922). A dictionary of the printers and booksellers who were at work in England, Scotland and Ireland from 1668 to 1725. Oxford: The Oxford University Press.
Shepherd, Rob. (2015). The Cinderella of the arts: A short history of Sangorski & Sutcliffe, a London bookbinding firm established in 1901 including the story of the Great Omar, a jewelled binding of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám lost on the RMS Titanic in 1912. London: Shepherds.
Spring 2018 Catalogue (n.d.). Bauman Rare Books. Retrieved from https://www.baumanrarebooks.com/catalogues/spring2018/45/#zoom=z
Type Design in Northern Europe. (n.d.). Graphic Design History. Retrieved from http://www.designhistory.org/Type_milestones_pages/NorthernType.html