“SUCH WORKS… ARE THE RAILROADS TO LEARNING”: WILLIAM ROBERTSON’S HISTORIES IN TWO VOLUMES
ROBERTSON, William. Works. London: Jones and Co., 1828. Two volumes. Octavo, modern full brown calf gilt, raised bands, marbled edges. $750.
“University Edition” of Robertson’s lauded histories of Scotland, Charles V and the New World, with engraved frontispieces, engraved vignette title pages, two folding maps and a plate of Mexican paintings, attractively bound.
Scottish historian Robertson "is regarded, along with David Hume and Edward Gibbon, as one of the most important British historians of the 18th century" (Britannica). His History of Scotland—which chronicles Scotland, after a glance at its "dark and fabulous" past, from the death of James V to the ascension of James VI—saw publication on February 1, 1759. "Its sobriety, fairness and literary character give it a permanent interest to a student of the evolution of historical composition" (DNB). In 1769, he published his acclaimed History of Charles V, "regarded as an introduction to the History of Modern Europe" (DNB); Byron called it "another of my great favorites; it contains an epitome of information. Such works…. are the railroads to learning" (Allibone, 1827). And from its publication in 1778 until the 1840s, Robertson's account of the discovery of America and the conquest of Mexico and Peru "held its place as the standard history of the discovery of the New World" (Honour). Early owner ink signature.