Presentation copy of Nugae Metricae by Lord W.W. Grenville, inscribed to Bishop Samuel Wilberforce from George M. Fortescue, nephew of the author.
Quarto, , 89pp. Marbled boards with red morocco spine and corners, title stamped in gilt on spine. Leather rubbed along spine and corners, scuff mark near lower left corner of back cover. Some foxing, mainly endpapers and flyleaves, untrimmed pages, small closed tear along fore edge of pages 53/54. Inscription on front flyleaf: “The Lord Bishop of Oxford, from GM Fortescue, Dropmore, Aug. 18, 1866.” (Lowndes II, 942) A nice example of this scarce publication, with approximately 50 copies being printed and bought up primarily by family.
The author of this work, Lord William W. Grenville (1759-1834), was a member of the House of Lords and Prime Minister of England from 1806-1807. His most notable accomplishment during his ministry was the passing of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which resulted in the abolition of the slave trade throughout the British Empire. Lord Grenville’s home was Dropmore, which was built in the 1790s, and with his death in 1834, Lady Grenville continued to live at the estate until her death in 1864. Having no children, the home passed into the hands of her nephew, George M. Fortescue (1791-1877). In 1866, Fortescue presented Bishop Samuel Wilberforce (1805-1873) with this copy of his uncle’s book of poetry, Nugae Metricae. Bishop Wilberforce was the third son of William Wilberforce, who played a prominent role in the movement to abolish the slave trade in the early nineteenth century. Bishop Wilberforce was involved in the 1860 Oxford debate on evolution, in which he opposed Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.