(London: John Murray, 1822). 216 x 140 mm. (8 1/2 x 5 1/2"). Three volumes. Second Edition, "corrected and enlarged." FIRST PRINTING of the third part.
Pleasant 19th century salmon pink polished half calf, raised bands, spines ornately gilt in compartments with volute cornerpieces framing decorative pineapple centerpiece surrounded by small tools, each spine with two olive green morocco titling labels, marbled sides and endpapers, top edges gilt. With medallions of the queen and her consorts on the title and endpages, three frontispiece portraits of the queen, and four folding plates. Spines sunned to a soft terra cotta, extremities just a little rubbed, one board with tiny scratches, leaves slightly toned and with minor offsetting, one plate with small tears along two folds, but still an excellent set, the text clean and fresh, and the attractive bindings with virtually no wear to the joints.
Mary Stuart (1542-87) inherited the throne of Scotland from her father James V a few days after her birth, but with her life endangered by English ambitions, she was taken by her French mother to safety in France. In 1558, she married young Henry II of France, but was widowed two years later. She returned to Scotland and was able to rule the country for a time, despite opposition from Elizabeth of England and Scottish Presbyterian lords. Scandal erupted over the murders of both her supposed lover Rizzio and her spineless husband Darnley, as well as over her marriage to a criminal third spouse, Bothwell. Driven from Scotland, Mary, as a cousin of Elizabeth I and, hence, the Catholic claimant to the English throne, was imprisoned in England from 1568 to her execution in 1587. Because of her tragic life, Mary has always been one of the best-known British rulers, and accounts of her life vary greatly in their emphasis and sympathy. First published in 1818, the present biography by Scottish antiquarian George Chalmers (1742-1825) is described by DNB as "a work so saturated in sentimental Jacobitism and political prejudice that it has little value as an account. Chalmers . . . saw Mary as the helpless and innocent victim of conspirators, and all her opponents as corrupt and evil. Any historian who took a different view of Mary was mercilessly attacked." The third volume, published for the first time with this edition, is devoted to memoirs of Bothwell and of the regents of the Scottish throne following Mary's fall. Our bindings are both handsomely gilt and feminine in design, an appropriate reflection of their contents. (ST11462a-103)
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PJP Catalog: 63.33