1798. London: Feb. 6, (17)98.
4to, 4 pp., written in ink. Fold neatly restored, in very good condition.
§ This is one of the earliest, and by far the most important, Dibdin letters extant. It is fully described and transcribed in Windle and Pippin E2 and it describes Dibdin's first publication, "The Whole Law relative to the Rights of Persons" of which no copy is known to survive. For a long time it was the only proof we had that this "chart" was ever printed, let alone in colored and uncolored copies. A second letter mentioning the chart was only recently discovered. This letter is to Cadell & Davies, publisher of two editions of Blackstone, and begins with their comment at the head of the letter (lines 1-2):
declined - and the 2 Charts sent by his Desire to
Mr Clark, Portugal Street.
Feb. 6. 98
8 Upper Titchfield St.
I have sent you per bearer two [of] my law Charts comprehending each the whole Law relative to the rights of Persons, which makes up the first Volume complete of Blackstone’s Comries.: I have sent one colour’d, and one plain, so that you might be able to judge of the advantages and disadvantages attending each: by being coloured, of course the expence is increas’d; but otherwise, as I humbly conceive, it adds much to the Perspicuity of the Work: Supposing you to close in with my Proposals, it may possibly be worth your while to take the colouring of them into your consideration: tho’ even without it, I think the work would be highly advantageous to any future edition of Blackstone...." This letter is archetypal Dibdin and sets the tone for many subsequent transactions with booksellers and publishers. Anthony Lister observed (in litt.): ‘It is invaluable because (a) it reveals Dibdin trying in 1798 to persuade booksellers to market his wares.… (b) the letter is by far the earliest written by T.F.D. that I have encountered among the hundreds that I have read [but see entry A1]. (c) It provides the earliest London address I have for him … ’ Reminiscences (pp.190-191) varies in details of the cost and selling prices. Item #123813