Meditations and Contemplations.

Meditations and Contemplations.
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London: Printed for John and Francis Rivington, et al., 1767. 8vo, xxxix, [1 ad], [1]-283 pp., engraved frontis. and one full page engraving (Anne Stonhouse funeral monument), woodcut headpieces, tailpieces, and initials. Contemporary full speckled calf, backstrip with red and black labels lettered in gilt. Binding worn, upper board held by cords only, moderate foxing and toning, closed tear to C3 and F1. Signature of Horatio Gates to first free endpaper. Bookplate of Alexander Chambers. Stamp of Sophia Eyres on first free endpaper, her name in ink on the second freeendpaper and her signature and date (1774) to the rear endpaper. Eighteenth edition, vol. 1 of 2 vols. This copy signed by the revolutionary war officer Horatio Gates. That Gates should have acquired this edition, published in 1767, is of some biographical interest as it was around this time that he was renewing his commitment to a Christian life after an eventful youth spent fighting in the Seven Years’ War. “By [1762] he had become a master of military administration and an accomplished leader of men in battle. These skills, however, did him little good once the war ended. Living in England with no chance of promotion, he sought surcease for a time in liquor and gambling, but he mastered these vices in the late 1760s and drifted toward republicanism and Methodism” (ANB). The pious reflections contained in clergyman James Hervey’s (1714-1758) first and most popular work, “Meditations among the Tombs” and “Reflections on a Flower Garden”, were clearly not successful in winning over Gates to the contemplative life and he is now best remembered for his later career as an American colonist and general during the Revolutionary War in which he controversially took credit for the victory in the Battles of Saratoga, and was blamed for the defeat at the Battle of Camden. A later owner of this book was Alexander Chambers, a general during the American Civil War. The stamp and signature of Sophia Eyres, dated 1774, are also intriguing but efforts to identify her have been so far unsuccessful. ESTC T27780. (Item Id: 108638)

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