Rare book: The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon by Henry Fielding. London: A. Millar, 1755. Hardcover (contemporary speckled calf, rebacked, new end leaves), 4 x 6.5, 228 pages. Inscribed on the reverse of the half-title page in a contemporary hand in bold ink, “Present from Buttn. Gwinnett Esq. of St. Catherine Island Georgia to William Lewis, Oct. 27th 1771.” Book condition: VG/None, with scattered light toning. This volume has been sold by several leading auction houses throughout the years, including Scott & O’Shaughnessy, 1915; Walpole Galleries, 1925; Parke-Bernet, 1967; Greg Manning Galleries, 1997; and Christie’s, 2015.
It seems likely that this volume, printed in London, was from Gwinnett’s library. One of two Declaration signers born in England, Gwinnett emigrated to the Savannah, Georgia, area of colonial America in 1765. He soon purchased St. Catherine’s Island, off of Georgia’s east coast, where he started a plantation. Considering the rarity of Gwinnett’s autograph—with barely over fifty known—any item associated with him is of the utmost desirability to collectors of early Americana and Declaration completists.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.