“A FIRST-RATE MASTER OF THE ART OF RHETORICAL INVECTIVE”
(JUNIUS) [FRANCIS, Sir Philip]. Junius, Stat Nominus Umbra [The Letters of Junius]. London: T. Bensley, 1799. Two volumes. Octavo, 19th-century full mottled calf gilt rebacked, black morocco spine labels, raised bands, all edges marbled. $700.
Early edition, with 21 engraved plates depicting famous political figures, including Edmund Burke, John Wilkes, Judge Blackstone, and George III.
Junius, the pseudonymous author of a series of letters that appeared in the Public Advertiser between 1769 and 1772, is now generally thought have been Sir Philip Francis, who was working in the War Office at the time. These shrewd and lucid (but often bitter) letters attacked the ministries of George III and served to unite the opposition. “It is a work which must always preserve its high place among the classics of England; the author was a first-rate master of the art of rhetorical invective” (Lowndes, 1240). The first authorized edition was published in 1771. See Rothschild 1282. Bookplates.
Plates somewhat foxed; light rubbing to calf extremities. A handsome copy.