(London: Published for the Proprietor by T. Hurst, 1835). 235 x 143 mm. (9 1/4 x 5 5/8"). vii, [i], 286,  pp. FIRST EDITION.
Publisher's dark green pebble-grained cloth, flat spine with gilt cartouche and titling. With title page vignette and 18 woodcuts in the text (four of them by George Cruikshank and signed with his initials) demonstrating methods of self defense, eight full-page etched plates, four by George Cruikshank and three by his brother Robert, and two folding etched scenes, all of sporting life. Front pastedown with armorial bookplate of Philip John Budworth, Greensted Hall, Essex, and engraved bookplate of author and bibliophile Eric S. Quayle of Greensleeves, Sutton Coldfield, dated 1962; Front free endpaper with ink ownership inscription of Budworth, dated 1837. Slater, "Illustrated Sporting Books," p. 57; Cohn, Cruikshank Catalogue Raisonné, 70. Spine slightly and evenly sunned, corners a little bumped, half-inch snag to front joint, the two folding plates with minor chips to fore-edge and marginal foxing, additional trivial defects, otherwise quite an excellent copy, the original insubstantial binding sturdy and with only trivial soiling, and the text fresh, clean, and bright.
This gentleman's guide to self defense is a very well-preserved reminder that the past was not so peaceful and idyllic as we might like to imagine, with vivid depictions of the dangers one faced at home and abroad by one of the great illustrators of the day. Victorian England was plagued with crime, from pickpockets and cutthroats in the cities to bandits and highwaymen on rural roads, and Baron de Berenger addresses the ways to protect home and property in epistolary form. In a series of letters to his son Augustus, he discusses "courage and its Characteristics," precautions to take on city streets, highways, and roads, shooting for sport or self defense, "Extrication from Perilous Situations," and more general advice on "Manliness," living within one's income, travelling, and dealing with insults. "Baron" de Berenger was born mere Charles Random, but marriage to a widowed German baroness provided him with a title he felt more suited to his talents. He was an excellent shot and popular with the sporting set. After being convicted of stock fraud in 1814 and spending a year in prison, Berenger came into a substantial sum of money, which he used to purchase an estate in Chelsea that was the former home of Lord Cremorne. There he established "The Stadium, or British National Arena," a prospectus of which forms the last 40 pages of this book, with its pleasures illustrated by the Cruikshank brothers. The Stadium was intended to host public fairs and other events, and to provide a place for shooting and archery clubs to meet and practice. The last leaf in the book is a schedule of races to be held there. Former owner Captain Philip John Budworth (1818-85) purchased and restored the Elizabethan manor "Greensted" in Essex, so endearing himself to the residents of the area that a community building was built to honor him. According to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature, British writer, historian and collector Eric Quayle (1921-2001) amassed a library of over 12,000 books, and produced "a whole series of lavishly illustrated books" about collecting, including "The Collector's Book of Books" (1971), "The Collector's Book of Children's Books" (1971), "The Collector's Book of Boy's Stories" (1973), and "Early Children's Books: A Collector's Guide" (1983), as well as "Ballantyne the Brave," an acclaimed biography of 19th century adventure story writer R. M. Ballantyne. (ST12036)