LORD NELSON'S COPY
(NELSON, Lord Horatio) BAILLIE, Thomas. A Solemn Appeal to the Public, from an Injured Officer, Captain Baillie, Late Lieutenant Governor, of the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich. London: for Baillie by J. Almon, 1779. Tall folio (10-1/2 by 17 inches), contemporary full red morocco rebacked with original elaborately gilt-decorated spine laid down, marbled endpapers; pp. (8), xliv, 190. $6500.
Lord Nelson's copy, with his engraved bookplate and in contemporary morocco-gilt, of this defense of Thomas Baillie, complete with fine mezzotint portrait of Baillie which was issued separately.
Baillie, a captain in the Royal Navy, was appointed lieutenant-governor of the Greenwich Hospital in 1774. Four years later he published an account of abuses within the hospital concerning wasted revenues, the transformation of wards into fine apartments for clerks, the diet of the pensioners, and so on, which created great controversy and subsequently deprived Baillie of his office and caused a libel suit to be brought against him. This account of the trial contains Erskine's brilliant defense of Baillie which cleared him of the charges. (Erskine, later lord chancellor, had at this time just been called to the bar.).
Interior fine, expert restoration to extremities. A handsome and desirable copy, with excellent provenance.