[MACNEILL, Hector]

Scotland's Skaith; or The History O' Will and Jean owre true a tale!

Edinburgh: Printed by Mundell and Son. 1795.

Subscriber's copy. 8vo. (223x140mm). Unpaginated, [pp62]. Engraved frontispiece and two further engraved plates and tailpiece. Two title pages. Contemporary half calf, marbled paper covered boards, green label to spine, lettered in gilt. Corners bumped and rubbed. Slight foxing and browning and staining to first page of "Subscribers Names". Overall a nice copy of a book which went through numerous editions (under different imprints) in its first year (1795), ESTC recording this as the second edition with two copies in the UK (BL and NLS) and eight in the US. Two ownership inscriptions: "A.C.Cunninghame Graham (Bontic..?), Gartmore" and "M.H.Spiers Oct 1795, A Present from my Father". A Peter Spiers is noted in the list of subscribers as ordering three copies and it seems certain that this is one of those. Hamish Macneill (1746-1818) spent his early working life as a clerk shuttling between various jobs in Britain and the West Indies, all the time attempting to establish himself as a writer. A pamphlet in support of the slave trade appeared in 1788, written at the request of a friend (with friends like these...etc) although, realising his naivety, MacNeill did seek to suppress it. Turning to his Scottish heritage, he published The Harp. A Legendary Tale in 1789 and his literary career thrived thereafter, Scotland providing the background and subject for most of his works. Scotland's Skaith is a ballad on the dangers of drink.

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