Book submission: A Collection of Welsh Travels and Memoirs of Wales

Title: A Collection of Welsh Travels and Memoirs of Wales
Author: Torbuck, John (compiler)
Publication date: London: Printed for J. Torbuck, and sold by R. Baldwin, jun., [1749]
Library: Columbia University (Butler Library)
Call number: 942.1W14 T63
Submitted by: Tara Key
This book’s inscriptions and annotations tell a tale of a group of bibliophiles of note.

The inscription of presentation, first, IDs William A(ndrew) Chatto’s gift of the book to Robert Balmanno on January 20, 1844. This is presumably in Balmanno’s handwriting. There is, second, a note bound in that details how the book may be more suitable for a “Mr. Milner”in that he is a lover of things Welsh (as opposed, perhaps to Scotsman Balmanno) and is signed by “C” – presumably Chatto. Note that Balmanno IDs Chatto as “Esq.” in his annotation.

Third, in what I think is Chatto’s handwriting, there is an odd assortment throughout the book of phrases and words being underlined and check-marked in the margins. In the front of the book, there is a corresponding list of terms and page numbers that line up with the check-marks found – not for every item check-marked, but some.

Robert Balmanno (1780-1861) was an author and collector of books and autographs who lived in New York. He came from London on the ship Orbit on April 8, 1830, immigrating as a “Gentleman.” He was the editor of the London Literary Gazette before his move and founded the New York Shakespeare Society. In fact, he was such a Shakespeare fan, he conducted a lengthy correspondence with Mary Cowden Clarke after she published her “Complete Concordance to Shakespeare” and the letters between the two became a book titled, “Letters To an Enthusiast” later in the century. He is buried in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery and his collected papers are at NYPL.

William A. Chatto was William Andrew Chatto (1799-1864). He was the editor of the British periodical Puck in 1844. He wrote books on a variety of topics, including, Treatise on Wood Engraving, Historical and Practical (1844), Facts and Speculations on the Origin and History of Playing Cards (1848). A Paper;—of Tobacco. Treating of the Rise, Progress, Pleasures, and Advantages of Smoking. With Anecdotes of Distinguished Smokers, Mems. on Pipes and Tobacco-Boxes, and a Critical Essay on Snuff (1839) appeared under the inspired pseudonym Joseph Fume! One of his sons, Andrew, became a member of the publishing firm Chatto and Windus.

An autographed letter found recently for sale online from Chatto to Balmanno, sent from London on July 29, 1844, divulges the association of these two men with “Milner” the description of the contents reading that he had received with great pleasure Balmanno’s ‘parcels and letters’, and asks him to thank ‘your friends Chisholm, Tracey, and Milner’.” This is the only trace I can find of Mr. Milner, but it locates him as a New York friend of both men.

This book, according to the inscription, was received by Balmanno from Chatto on January 20, 1844 – the same year!

This letter refers to their interchanges of sending and receiving books from each other, and comments, “I had the trouble of correcting the proof sheets and making a brief glossary of Yankee phrases …” about a reprinting of Jonathan Slick’s High Life In New York by the publisher of Puck, now gone belly up. (Chatto says of Puck, “I neither liked the title nor the plan of Puck, and yet, I think, I did nore than any other man to keep it alive so long. My reward I have yet to receive.” )

Chatto goes on to say (regarding a book Balmanno had sent to him), “Why did you stick “Esq” after my name in , in the “New World”? In such places I always take it to mean “Hack Writer” – a character which I am not ambitious of, and, in truth, do not deserve. ” You will recall, Balmanno wrote, “Esq.” after Chatto’s name in his note about receiving the book in that very six-month period between getting the book from Chatto and this letter from Chatto!

This talk of making a glossary of Yankee phrases seems to explain the documenting of interesting phrases in this work made by Chatto before he sent it to New York, as it is in his handwriting if he penned the bound-in note.

On page 74, a longer note refers to a Walter Scott review of a John Home (Hume) work in the Quarterly Review in 1827.

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