Salisbury: E. Easton, 1786. Octavo, measuring 8 x 5 inches: vi, 360. Early nineteenth-century three-quarter red sheep, marbled boards, spine ruled and decorated in gilt, all edges speckled, blue endpapers. Typographic ornaments throughout text; errata at rear. Ink ownership signature to preliminary flyleaf, with note: “This book bound by him / 1817." Expert repair to corners, occasional spotting, faint tidemark to several signatures.
First and only edition of this curious anthology, compiled by a Dorset writing master for the use of his students. Longman pulls exemplary sentences from the works of famous authors, alphabetizes them by first word, and offers them as writing practice: “for boys to transcribe such sentences, will enable them to be more correct in spelling, and to write more fluently, which certainly is preferable to their continual writing copies, as is customary in most schools.” The literary selections focus on building sound moral character: “Endeavor to suppress the first thoughts of revenge, lest you create a civil war in yourself, while you are studying to wound another.” “Nature never said one thing, and wisdom another.” “Never talk over-much of what you know; lest you be suspected to talk of what you do not know: and though silence is not always the mark of a wise man, yet noise and impertinence, do certainly discover the fool.” The volume concludes with several longer verse passages, including Irish poet Constantia Grierson’s “On the Art of Printing” (here titled “On the Art of Writing”) and excerpts from Edward Young and Alexander Pope. OCLC locates two holdings in the United States (Illinois and Yale). A very good example of an uncommon book, with eighteenth-century lexicographic appeal.