NP [London?]: n.p. [Privately Printed], 1756. First edition. Hardcover. Octavo.  38pp. [+ 14 manuscript pages]. 3/4 light brown morocco over marbled paper boards, gilt lettering on the spine. Publisher's woodcut illustrated device on the title page. This privately printed work was created to stir public support for the continuing legal saga of James Annesley (1715-1760), whose tragic life story and struggles had fueled one of the the most controversial and infamous legal cases of 18th century Britain. This unique copy of the book contains 15 manuscript pages, including collected subscription signatures at the rear, and was part of a larger collection of original unique manuscripts and legal documents relating to the cases, originating from the library of British book collector and legal historian Alexander Meyrick Broadley (1847-1916)*.
Although numerous somewhat conflicting historical accounts and dates exist, the basic facts of this remarkable story are as follows:
James Annesley's story started with his birth in 1715, County Wexford, Ireland, to Arthur Annesley, 4th Baron Altham (1689–1727), an Anglo-Irish peer, and his wife Mary Sheffield (1692-1729). After the family moved to Dublin, subsequent marital problems led Arthur Annesley to throw his wife out of the house, and subsequently reject his son James, who was left to roam the streets and fend for himself. In 1728, shortly after the death of his father, and at the mere age of 12, James was kidnapped and shipped to the American colonies, where he was later sold into indentured servitude on a Delaware plantation. These plans unfolded on the orders of his uncle, Richard Annesley (c. 1693 – 1761), who by removing his nephew from the picture was able to claim his brother's title and lands, as the 5th Baron Altham, and as a result claim the title of the 6th Earl of Anglesea.
In 1740 James managed to escape from his indentured servitude on the Delaware plantation and ultimately book passage on a ship bound for Jamaica. There, as shown by historic records, he was able to sign on with the Royal Navy, under the command of Admiral Vernon of the HMS Falmouth. While under Vernon's command he served in the Battle of Cartagena, on the Columbian coast of the Caribbean, as part of the ongoing War of Jenkins' Ear, which had originated in mercantile disputes between the Spanish and British Empires in the West Indies. The following year he was discharged and subsequently returned to England and shortly thereafter Scotland. In a curious and astonishing turn of events shortly thereafter, he was implicated in the accidental death Thomas Egglestone during a hunting trip. Having received word of James' return to Britain and Egglestone death, his uncle Richard Annesley attempted to have him hanged for murder, through a case brought by his lawyer John Giffard. Last minute eyewitness testimony, attesting to the death as an accident, was able to clear James of murder. Free from the charges, James set his sights on a return to Ireland to claim his rightful title as the Earl of Anglesea, from the treachery and criminality of his uncle Richard.
This commenced the extended and highly publicized series of trials starting with the case of, Annesley v Anglesea (1743), with James being represented by the Scottish Barrister Daniel Mackercher (d.1772). Among the many historically relevant and important aspects of these legal proceedings was the idea that Richard Annesley had known full well that the death of Egglestone in Scotland had been accidental, yet got his longtime lawyer Giffard to bring charges anyway. Giffard was asked to take the stand and testify in this regard, but rejected the request on grounds of attorney client privilege. James' legal team argued that since the murder trial was not related to the case of inheritance at hand, it was exempted from attorney client privilege. The judge ultimately ruled in favor of James Annesley, setting important precedent in legal history in this regard. Richard Annesley subsequently initiated a legal case, during which among other things he unsuccessfully attempted to prove that James was not the legitimate son of Lady Mary Sheffield, Baroness Altham. The court finally decided in favor of James Annesley and he was awarded the return of many of his rightful estates and properties, but was for some reason ultimately unable to fully successfully regain all of his rightful titles before his death in January of 1760, at the age of 44.
This ongoing legal saga was highly publicized at the time throughout Britain, and an elicited huge interest from the public in Dublin and London. In those cities no less than 15 separate trial accounts were published during the period. This amazing story is said to have been the real-life inspiration for the famous adventure novel "Kidnapped" (1886) by Robert Louis Stevenson, as well as works by Sir Walter Scott and Charles Reade.
This publication is a later public relations attempt to drum up continued public support for Annesley case and life story in order to achieve the full reinstatement of his rightful titles. It contains a through yet relatively concise relating of James Annesley's life story and his legal struggles. Two other very similar publications are known to exist. One from 1754 was printed in Dublin, under the title "An abstract of the case of the Honourable James Annesley, Esq; humbly submitted to the consideration of all disinterested persons, and of all lovers of justice and truth", has significantly more extensive pagination. Another known work was published under the exact same name as this book with the same pagination, in 1758, and like this book, does not mention a place of publication. We therefore assume it is the second edition of this work.
The unique aspect of this copy of the book is that it contains 15 manuscript pages. 14 pages appear at the back of the book collecting the names of "subscribers" and their respective financial pledges in support of Annesley's continued cause, in continuing to publicizing his story and gain back the fully extent of his properties and complete peerage titles. An additional manuscript page opposite the title page contains an added total of the various pledged subscription amounts enumerated at the rear, with a total of £2,652.70 pounds raised (from a goal of $5,000) from 156 individual subscribers. This would be the equivalent of close to £600,000 today. Some of the most sizable contributor listed were members of the aristocracy and political figures, including £21 from Jane Beauclerk, Duchess of St Albans (c.1731 – 1778), £52 from Mary Howard, Duchess of Norfolk (c. 1712 – 1773), £21 Mary Nunn, Duchess of Bolton (died 1764), £32 from Sir Thomas Bankes I'Anson and a massive contribution of £1000 from John Bankes (II), Esq. (1692-1772) Tory MP from Dorset.
In addition to the period manuscript pages, there is an additional later small manuscript page laid in at the interior front cover, summarizing the content of the manuscript, in ink, 5.5 x 4", likely written by a previous owner. This may have been written by either be Alexander Meyrick Broadley (1827-1916). Additionally there is a short printed bibliographic clipping detailing what can be assumed to be the content of the larger Broadley collection of Annesley case material from which this book originates, pasted at the bottom of the front free endpaper.
Binding with some rubbing to corners, and few light abrasions to the covers. Sunning to spine. Minor chipping at the head of the spine, with hinges starting to crack. Interior with bookplates of two previous owners and additional clipping pasted on to the interior front cover and the front free endpaper. There are additional loose blank endpapers, one at the front and one at the rear of the book. Starting at the endpapers, although book block fairly tight overall. Light foxing to the front manuscript page and the printed title page. Binding in good, interior in good+ condition overall. Extremely scarce edition. g to g+. Item #47610
This copy is originally from the library of Alexander Meyrick Broadley (1847-1916), also known as Broadley Pasha, a British barrister, author, and cultural figure, best known for being the defense lawyer for Ahmed Urabi after the failed Urabi Revolt. The book bears his illustrated bookplate on the interior front cover. The last fifteen years of Broadley's life were dedicated to book collecting, mostly on the subjects of Napoleon and criminal jurisprudence. By the time of his death he had amassed significant acquisitions of manuscript material on legal subjects, accumulating original letters and documents, as mentioned in the book "Chats on Autographs" (1910). The typed bibliographic clipping pasted on at the front free endpaper provides evidence that this book was part of a large collection of material including original legal documents relating to the Annesley case, which was owned by Broadley.
Reference: Leslie Stephen: DNB Vol.1: TP477-478 (1908 ed.).