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Select portions of the Psalms of David
R. Howe, Government Printer, Sydney 1828 - Duodecimo; a delightful copy, completely unsophisticated in its original Sydney binding of blind-tooled sheep, preserved in a quarter morocco book-form box. An exceptional survivor from the early days of Sydney publishing: the first Australian Church of England hymn-book. It was printed by Robert Howe, son of the first Australian printer George Howe, and this copy bears a gift inscription from Governor Darling to Elizabeth, wife of Henry Dumaresq.Robert Howe, who printed this, was born in 1795 and emigrated with his father George in 1800. Dissolute in his youth, he spent most of his formative years around the press, which in 1808 was still attached to Government House (Ferguson, The Howes and their Press, pp. 16-7). Robert was taken under the wing of the Reverend Ralph Mansfield, and became a Methodist of some standing. He took over as Government Printer after the death of his father George in 1821, and quickly set about improving the quality of Sydney printing as well as branching out into new publishing ventures: he started the first Australian magazine, and published grander works such as Tompson's Wild Notes from the Lyre of a Native Minstrel, still admired for its handsome design. His was a luckless career, with more than his fair share of the usual hurdles associated with a career in colonial printing: a long unresolved fight with the government over censorship, a stabbing by an aggrieved reader in 1822, a procession of libel suits through the decade, and a horse-whipping by William Redfern.Sir Ralph Darling was appointed as Governor of NSW in 1825, succeeding Sir Thomas Brisbane in the post. Darling's governorship coincided with the raising of the ecclesiastical status in the colony, which came about by the inclusion of the Archdeacon on the newly-formed Executive Council, and the establishment of the Church and School Corporation in 1826, of which Darling was president. Thus it is most appropriate that this hymn-book, which aimed to "remove some difficulties which have been experienced in the Church Psalmody in this part of the world" (preface) was presented by Governor Darling to Henry Dumaresq's wife, Elizabeth, and is inscribed "from Lt. Genl. Darling. - Govt. House - to Mrs. H. Dumaresq".Three of his wife's brothers had travelled with him to Australia, Edward, Henry and William Dumaresq. Edward travelled as far as Hobart with them, where he became surveyor-general. Henry and William Dumaresq came to Sydney to become his private secretary and civil engineer respectively. It is small wonder that Darling's term in office was marked by constant cries of nepotism.Such an association makes this a most desirable copy of a very rare Sydney printing. [Attributes: Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2015-10-11           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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