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 1761 Annual Register

This volume of the Annual Register for the Year 1761 is a fifth edition published by J. Dodsley in London in 1786 and has a cornucopia of historical, scientific and literary reports and information. It continues the extensive coverage of the wars in Europe and North America with most of the action occurring in Europe. England and France try to conclude a separate peace unsuccessfully (there is much on the proposals and counterproposals) while France concludes a treaty with Spain which in the next year brings Spain into the war in Europe and the Americas..

On a lighter note there is extensive coverage of the marriage and coronation of George III in England: those who love pomp and ceremony will discover how they handled royal weddings and coronations 250 years ago. The Indians wars in the Carolinas were temporarily resolved and included in the volume is the full text of a treaty between the American colonies and the Cherokee nation. This volume also has an interesting early report of the exploration of Alaska and the Northwest coast of America in which they conclude that native Americans are descended from the same people populating the Northeast coast of Asia. Another American interest story is an account of the history of the "Buccaneers of America."

Below are the opening paragraphs of the reports on the marriage and coronation of George III.

The volume includes excerpts from  "An account of that part of America, which is nearest to the land of Kamtchatka: extracted from the Description of Kamtchatka by Professor Krashennicoff, "  What is excerpted comes from the fourth chapter which deals with "that part of America which lies directly East from Kamchatka" from "notes taken out of Mr. Steller"s journal". In 1733 Krasheninnikov, a student at the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Moscow, was dispatched on the second expedition to easternmost Siberia led by Vitus Bering. This is one of the earliest published reports describing the peoples and land of Alaska.  Below is a picture of part of the title of the account and some of the text which reports on the "remarkable resemblances between the American and Kamtchadalian nations."

Below are pictures of portions of the reports on the treaty with Cherokee Indians and the Buccaneers of America.

Edmund Burke's hand is very evident in the book reviews section. In the first case he is fooled by  a very well done fraud claiming to be the work of an ancient Irish poet, Fingal, an ancient epic poem, in six books, together with several other poems, composed by Ossian the son of Fingal; translated from the Gallic language by James Macpherson. Here is what Burke has to say in the opening paragraph:

From the publication of these extraordinary poems, the ingenious editor has a double claim to literary applause. One, as having with equal industry and taste recovered from the obscurity of barbarism, the rust of fifteen hundred years, and the last breath of a dying language, these inestimable relicks of the genuine spirit of poetry: and the other, for presenting them to the world in an English translation, whose expressive singularity evidently retains the majestic air, and native simplicity of a sublime original. The venerable author, and his elegant translator, thus have mutually conferred immortality on each other…

Burke, with greater justification, has good things to say about the History of England, from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Accession of Henry VII " by David Hume:

 Our writers had commonly so ill succeeded in history, the Italians and even the French had so long continued our acknowledged superiors, that it was almost feared that the British genius, which had so happily displayed itself in every other kind of writing, and had gained the prize in most, yet could not enter the lists in this. The historical work Mr. Hume first published discharged our country from this opprobrium.

 This very ingenious and elegant writer is certainly a very pro­found thinker. The idea of the growth, as I may call it, of our pre­sent constitution seems to be the principle of the whole work com­pleted by the part now published, which is written in the same bold masterly manner as the two formerly published; and though in point of time it precedes them, is possibly, in reason, but a conse­quence of the other two; and the three parts, we imagine, may with propriety enough be read in the order the ingenious author has chosen to publish them...

If the periods of the history first published interested our passions more, the curiosity of the learned will be more gratified in that now before us. It will be curious to observe from what a strange chaos of liberty and tyranny, of anarchy and order, the constitution, we are now blessed with, has at length arisen...No man perhaps has come nearer to that so requisite and so rare a quality in an historian of unprejudiced partiality…

Below is a picture of the title of Hume's work and Burke's opening paragraphs provided in text above.

The 1761 volume is also available in a first edition as a part of both the 1758 through 1791 set and in a later edition in the 1758 through 1773 set.

Price: SOLD

We have additional copies of the 1761 Annual Register and will be posting pictures in the near future.