Letters Written by Sir W. Temple, Bart and Other Ministers of State, Both at Home and Abroad. Containing an Account of the Most Important Transactions that Pass'd in Christendom from 1665 to 1672 … Review'd by Sir W. Temple Sometime Before His Death: and Published by Jonathan Swift Domestick Chaplain to His Excellency the Earl of Berkeley, One of the Lords Justice of Ireland.

London: J. Tonson, A and J. Churchill & R. Simpson, 1700.

Price: $750.00

About the item

First edition. Engraved frontispiece portrait. 4 vols. 8vo. Contemporary speckled paneled calf, brown morocco spine labels. Rebacked, preserving original spines, extremities worn, joints cracked or starting, toned. Rothschild 2401; Teerink 469. Provenance: Lucy and Mary Montagu (signed on verso of portrait); Ditton Park, Montagu estate (bookplate).

Item #308081

Montagu family copy of a uniformly bound 4-volume set of the letters of Sir William Temple, comprising the 1700 two-volume first edition of the letters (vols. I & II of the set), the first authorized edition of Temple's Letters to Charles II (vol. III), and the first unauthorized edition (vol. IV). The Letters were edited and brought to the press by Temple's protégé Jonathan Swift, who as a young man was secretary to Temple. Swift contributed the dedication letter to William III and the "Publisher's Epistle to the Reader" in the 1700 volumes and a Preface to the 1703 third volume. "Temple's subsequent literary standing owed much to Swift, who published many of his letters, memoirs, and miscellanea in 1700–09 and immortalized Temple as the hero of The Battle of the Books" (ODNB).
The "Lucy and Mary Montagu" of the ownership inscription does not, alas, refer to Lady Mary Montagu, who often signed her books with a distinctive "M."

Volumes III & IV as follows:

TEMPLE, W[illiam], Sir. Letters to the King, the Prince of Orange, the Chief Ministers of State, and Other Persons … Being the Third and Last Volume. Published by Jonathan Swift, D.D. [viii], 550 pp. London: Tim. Goodwin, 1703. First edition. Teerink 472.

TEMPLE, William, Sir. Select Letters to the Prince of Orange (Now the King of England,) King Charles the IId. And the Earl of Arlington, Upon Important Subjects. Vol. III. To Which is Added an Essay Upon the State and Settlement of Ireland … Published from the Originals of Sir William Temple's Own Hand-Writing. And Never Before Published. [viii], 216 pp. London: Tho. Bennet, 1701. First edition, unauthorized. Rothschild 2406.