‘Large and Handsome Volumes’

Early Owners of Benjamin Hoadly’s Works

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This article examines the sale of Benjamin Hoadly’s Works in 1773 and the purchasers of them. Benjamin Hoadly (1676-1761) was a highly controversial Anglican bishop who sparked two major theological controversies; his Works were principally polemical theological pieces. The Works were printed in a large paper and regular folio issues. This article shows the ways in which the two issues were differentiated, which has hitherto been unclear. The article also traces through estc the first individual and institutional purchasers and owners of the Works. Such reconstruction recovers the nature of book purchasing in the eighteenth century. The purchase of Hoadly’s Works was motivated by a combination of theological and political principles, bibliographic goals and admiration of Hoadly. The article contributes to our understanding of book purchases in the eighteenth century.


A Journal Devoted to Manuscripts and Printed Books




See, for example, P.J. Korshin, ‘Types of Eighteenth-Century Literary Patronage’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 7 (1974), pp. 453-73; J. Feather, ‘The Commerce of Letters: The Study of the Eighteenth-Century Book Trade’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Special Issue: ‘The Printed Word in the Eighteenth Century’, 17.4 (1984), pp. 405-24; E.H. Jacobs, ‘Buying into Classes: The Practice of Book Selection in Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Special Issue: ‘Eighteenth-Century Print Culture’, 33.1 (1999), pp. 43-64; D. Griffin, Literary Patronage in England, 1650-1800 (Cambridge 1996); J. Fergus, Provincial Readers in Eighteenth-Century England (Oxford 2006).


Pearson, op. cit. (n. 6), pp. 50-2.


  • Title-page of volume one of The Works of Benjamin Hoadly dd, Successively Bishop of Bangor, Hereford, Salisbury and Winchester. Published by his Son John Hoadly lld, Chancellor of the Diocese of Winchester, London: W. Bowyer & J. Nichols, 1773 (Lehigh University Library, 208 H678w O.S. v.1), including James Basire’s portrait of Bishop Hoadly. This copy includes the attack on Hoadly from an unknown reader.
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  • The lvg and fleur de lis watermarks in the large paper issue of Hoadly’s Works (Library of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, B.1.43-45).
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