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Lot 454: TEMPLE, Sir William. [Diplomat] Letters written by
800 Years Irish Political, Literary & Military History
April 30, 2013
Description: TEMPLE, Sir William. [Diplomat] Letters written by Sir W Temple Bart., and other ministers of state .... containing an account of the most important transactions that passed in Christendom from 1665 to 1672 - London: 1700. Two volumes. 8vo. pp. (1) [xiii], 520 (2), [i], 360. With engraved portrait. A good copy in contemporary red morocco, elaborately tooled in gilt rebacked with the original laid down. Wing T 641. They had been revised by Temple before his death and seen through the press by Jonathan Swift, whose first book it is, preceded in print only by some verses in the Athenian Gazette of 1691. Indeed his first words to appear with in hard covers must be this dedication: ''To His Most Sacred Majesty William III. King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland. These letters of Sir W Temple having been left to my care, they are most humbly presented to Your Majesty by Your Majesty's most dutiful and obedient servant''. To be fair to Swift he does not take undue credit for the publication opening his ''Epistle to the Reader'' that directly follows with the words: ''The collection of the following Letters is owing to the diligence of Mr Thomas Downton, who was one of Sir William's Temple's secretaries, during the whole time wherein they bear date.'' Singled out for special mention are such major historical events as The War with Holland that began in 1665, the Peace of Breda, the Peace of Aix La Chapelle in the first part while the other part ends with the Second Dutch War of 1672. Swift, who had been Temple's secretary at the time of his dearth, was then appointed domestic chaplain to the earl of Berkeley, one of the Lords Justices. The majority of the translations from French and Latin were executed by Swift who however acknowledged his lack of Spanish. Sweeney 5040 quoting the 1st edition of 1699 which was issued in a single volume. A highly important provenance being Inscribed ''Isaac Newton Libris'' with a reference in the same hand on the first blank leaf to Jonathan Swift's edition.