London: Published for the author, and sold by Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, Paternoster-Row et al, 1823. Early Reprint. Morocco. Royal 8vo: [vii],,284]pp, with tissue-guarded, hand-colored frontispiece and 19 hand-colored full-page plates by Charles Williams. Elegantly bound by Bayntun in full blue morocco, covers with interlocking gilt scrollwork borders and anchor-device corner pieces, spine similarly decorated and lettered in six compartments between raised bands, all edges and turn-ins gilt, marbled endpapers, two royal blue silk page ribbons. A stunning copy, binding secure, square and unblemished, pages and plates bright and fresh. Abbey, Life 340. Martin Hardie, p. 173. Grolier Rowlandson 42-43. Tooley 331-32. Prideaux, p. 303-04. Fine. Item #BB1352
¶ Third Edition of Mitford’s most famous work, in octosyllabic verse. An imitation of a work published in 1818, by Alfred Burton, with the same title, both works being imitations of The military adventures of Johnny Newcome . . . by an officer (London, 1815). "The Mitford work is an entirely different poem from the poem by Alfred Burton, though evidently an imitation of it." (Hardie) Johnny Newcome (generic for raw recruit) is a clergyman’s son forced to leave school and join the navy when his father loses his money in a banking crash. He embarks on H.M.S. Capricorn and, under the good captain Dale, his career prospers. But in Jamaica yellow fever strikes, Captain Dale dies and is replaced by the bullying Captain Teak, and Johnny leaves the navy, falling on hard times. According to the ODNB, in 1814 or thereabouts, Mitford was "showing signs of mental illness. He was discharged from the navy as insane, and took to journalism and poetry. He was unable to make a living and became poverty-stricken, leaving his wife and children. . . . [In later years,] "unkempt, ragged, and filthy, [Mitford] lived and worked for forty-three days in the open in an old gravel pit in Bayswater Fields, with a bed of grass and nettles." Mitford wrote Adventures of Johnny Newcome there, "where he lay in hiding, receiving from his publisher a shilling daily in return for his copy, wherewith to purchase gin and cheese." (Hardie) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. Satisfaction guaranteed.