Monday, December 12, 2011

The Pigott Hoyles

Charles Pigott, Esq. wrote a number of popular satires (The Jockey Club, The Female Jockey Club, and The Whig Club) which offered scurrilous accounts of elite London society. (DNB) Two manuscripts survived his June 1794 death and were published shortly thereafter. One was another satire, The Political Dictionary while the other was a new edition of Hoyle. Like the earlier "Thomas Jones" editions of Hoyle, Pigott's seem to be a pretty blatant piracy of those edited by Charles Jones. Yet the "third" edition introduces new text including a gem that distinguishes it from all other 18th century Hoyles.

A chronology of the Pigott Hoyles is speculative for a variety of reasons. Early editions are not dated. "Third", "fourth", "fifth", and "ninth" editions survive, but those designations are not accurate. No other stated editions survive, though earlier and later books are found without a statement of edition. Newspaper advertisements do not match readily to the surviving books.

Indeed, it is the earliest surviving Pigott Hoyle that is the most uncertain. There is a single copy at the Bodleian Library. It is titled New Hoyle, or the General Repository of Games; Containing Rules and Instructions for playing [sixteen games]...From the Manuscript of the late Charles Pigott, Esq. London: Printed for James Ridgway, York Street, St. James's Square. Perhaps this is the book advertised in The Times of February 10, 1796 as "This day is published, price 2s. 6d sewed, and 3s. bound."

It is the next surviving book, again, with only a single exemplar at the Bodleian, that makes the first uncertain. It is a stated "third" edition and though it is undated, two dozen newspaper advertisements for the "third" edition appear from April 23, 1796 until late 1798. The title itself has changed slightly to Pigott's New Hoyle...containing Rules and Instructions for playing [twenty games]. The Third Edition, Corrected and Enlarged.

Yet bibliographically, this is not a new edition at all! The text is the same setting of type as the earlier New Hoyle with a cancel title page and addenda consisting of 38 new pages. It is instead a reissue of the earlier book. If we read its designation as "third" to mean anything, perhaps the earlier New Hoyle is a "second" edition and there is a still earlier version of which no copies have survived.

The addenda contains descriptions of four new games: cassino, all-four, connections and put. Interestingly, cassino and connections were newly added to the 1796 Charles Jones edition of Hoyle, published March 1796. Put and all-fours did not appear until the 1800 Charles Jones Hoyle. There is clearly some jockeying between the two publishers to add new games of interest.

Legal treatise on gaming
(click to enlarge)


The addenda also includes a twenty-three page section called "An Epitome of the Statue Laws on Gaming." This is the gem. It is a legal treatise on gaming law in England containing both statutes and case law on the legality of gambling and the enforcement of gambling debts. It is the first suggestion in any edition of Hoyle that the mania for gaming has some legal repercussions.



I have no idea where the text comes from. It seems unlikely that it was in the Pigott manuscript, or it would have been included in the earlier versions of the work. There were a number of 18th century treatises on gaming law, such as The Gamester's Law, 1708 or The Laws of Gaming, 1764, but the text does not appear to be taken from these works. A fuller discussion of the English gaming statutes and legal treatises will have to wait for future essays.

"fifth" edition
(click to enlarge)
To complete the chronology for the 18th century, an undated  "fourth" edition appeared, in late 1798 or, more likely, in 1799. This was a new setting of type with the addenda now fully incorporated into the book. I have located no advertisements for the "fourth" edition, but advertisements for the "fifth" began to appear in November 1799, continuing into late 1800. Like the "third" edition, the "fifth", pictured at right, was a reissue of the prior edition with a cancel title page.

I have not searched as diligently in the 19th century. There is a "ninth" edition advertised in November 1802, with no hints of "sixth" through "eighth" editions. There is an unnumbered "new" edition dated 1805 which may correspond to the November 22, 1804 advertisement in The Morning Chronicle. Other "new" editions are dated 1810 and 1811. I have not seen enough of the physical books to determine whether any of these are reissues of earlier items. It appears that these "new" editions were all published after bookseller James Ridgway moved  his premises from York Street, St. James's Square to 170 Piccadilly opposite Bond Street.

Interestingly, portions of the book were translated into French as R├Ęgles du jeu de whist, ou, Le nouveau Hoyle, de Charles Pigot.

We are left with the list below and the sense that there are many more editions that have not survived:
  • New Hoyle, 1796?
    • reissued as Pigott's New Hoyle "third" edition with addenda, 1796.
  • Pigott's New Hoyle "fourth" edition, 1798.
    • reissued as Pigott's New Hoyle "fifth" edition, 1800. 
  • Pigott's New Hoyle "ninth" edition, 1802
  • Pigott's New Hoyle "new" edition 1805
  • Pigott's New Hoyle "new" edition 1810
  • Pigott's New Hoyle "new" edition 1811
For me, it is the short legal treatise, first introduced in the 1796 "third" edition, that makes this a Hoyle worth seeking out.

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