1720 FIRST EDITION OF THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF MR. DUNCAN CAMPBELL: "THE PRINCE AND THE PEASANT WILL HAVE THEIR SEVERAL ENDS OF WORTHY DELIGHT IN READING IT"
(DEFOE, Daniel) [BOND, William]. The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Duncan Campbell, a Gentleman, who, tho' Deaf and Dumb, writes down any Stranger's Name at first Sight; with their future Contingencies of Fortune. London: E. Curll, 1720. Octavo, contemporary full paneled brown calf rebacked with original spine laid down, raised bands, red morocco spine label. $1750.
First edition of this biography of the famous 18th-century London soothsayer, with frontispiece portrait and three plates, one depicting a sign language alphabet.
Campbell presented himself as the son of a Scotsman and his Laplander wife, but "these details have been questioned, and it may be more probable that Campbell's claim to Lappish origins was manufactured to enhance his credentials as a mystic"; on moving to London in the early 18th century, Campbell "read a wealthy young widow's fortune in his own favour, and, having taken a house in Monmouth Street, established himself in business as a soothsayer and novelty, a deaf mute who could converse… In the latter part of the 1710s Campbell appears to have placed favourable notices in the press himself, suggesting that his celebrity was waning. He may have initiated The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr Duncan Campbell, published by Edmund Curll in 1720. The writer was anonymous, but was probably William Bond, who then lived in the same house as Campbell… From 1790 until 1968 it was usually, with little evidence, attributed to Daniel Defoe; but the views expressed on the supernatural in the work directly contradict arguments Defoe presents elsewhere, and Defoe is unlikely to have written for his enemy Edmund Curll. Following publication Campbell was presented at court to George I" (ODNB). Early owner signature on title page.
Interior with just a hint of occasional embrowning, handsome contemporary paneled calf binding with expert restoration.