Monday, February 27, 2012

The Polite Gamester

The last essay focused on Hoyle's individual treatises published in Dublin. This essay will focus on The Polite Gamester, the Hoyle anthology that was sold in Dublin for more than 40 years. As with the London Hoyles, early versions of the The Polite Gamester were collections, that is books issued by the publisher of works that were also available separately. In London it was possible to find the collections differently made up; the same is true in Dublin. In London, Thomas Osborne ceased publishing the individual treatises in 1748; it wasn't until 1762 that the Dublin publishers did the same. Unlike the London collections and collected editions, The Polite Gamester almost invariably had its own title page, so the cataloging problems described in my essay "What's in a Name" do not appear in Dublin. As I noted in the essay on individual treatises in Dublin, these books survive in much smaller number than do their London counterparts, so more conjecture is involved.

The separately published treatises are:
  • Whist.D.1: "fourth" edition, George Ewing, 1743
  • Whist.D.2: "fifth" edition, George Ewing, 1743
  • Whist.D.3: "fifth" edition, G. and A. Ewing, 1745
  • Whist.D.4: "thirteenth" edition, G. and A. Ewing, 1752 (likely sold only with Memory.D.2)
  • Whist.D.5: "fifth" edition, Peter Wilson, 1752 (likely sold only with Memory.D.3)
  • Whist.D.6: "fourteenth" edition, G. and A. Ewing, 1762 (likely sold only with Memory.D.4)
  • Memory.D.1: G. & A. Ewing, 1744
  • Memory.D.2: G. & A. Ewing, 1751 (likely sold only with Whist.D.4)
  • Memory.D.3: Peter Wilson, 1752 (likely sold only with Whist.D.5)
  • Memory.D.4: G. & A. Ewing, 1762 (likely sold only with Whist.D.6)
  • Piquet.D.1: G. & A. Ewing 1744
  • Piquet.D.2: "fourth" edition, G. & A. Ewing 1752
  • PG.0
This is the one Irish collection that lacks an overall title page and therefore is not separately cataloged in ESTC. The Bodleian copy (shelf mark Jessel f.541) consists of  Whist.D.2, Memory.D.1, Backgammon.D.1, Piquet.D.1 and Quadrille.D1. In the UNLV copy (shelf mark GV 1201 H83 1743), the backgammon and piquet treatises are reversed.  Note that the whist treatise is printed only for George Ewing while the others are printed for George and Alexander Ewing.
  • PG.1, G. & A. Ewing, 1745 (price a British half crown according to an advertisement in Quadrille.D.1)
This is the most frequently-seen early Polite Gamester, with a collected title page (pictured at the bottom of this essay) and made up of Whist.D.3, Quadrille.D.1, Backgammon.D.1, Piquet.D.1, and Memory.D.1.  The title page is a single leaf bound in before the whist treatise.

Inevitably, when the treatises are sold both individually and as a collection, some of the treatises go out of print before the others. Then, purchasers of the collection get a different make up. There is a copy cataloged at at DePaul University (shelf mark IY 1745) which appears to contain Memory.D.2 rather than Memory.D.1.

Similary, one finds the 1752 Ewing title page on two differently made up books:
  • PG.2.A, Dublin: printed for G. & A. Ewing, 1752 (price a British half crown according to an advertisement in Quadrille.D.2, but 2s. 2d. in newspaper advertisement)
PG.2.A contains the same editions of Quadrille and Backgammon as PG.1, but new editions of Whist.D.4, Piquet.D.2, and Memory.D.2. The games appear in the order whist, memory, quadrille, backgammon, piquet. The text on whist has been updated with changes that appeared in 1748 in London.

The same title page is used for PG.2.B, but the collection includes Quadrille.D.2 and Backgammon.D.2. Curiously, this collection is rarer, with but a single copy at the Bodleian (shelf mark Jessel f.572). One can imagine that other permutations were sold.
  • PG.3, Dublin: printed for Peter Wilson, 1752 (price one British shilling in newspaper advertisement)
I'll discuss this work in more detail in the next essay. It contains Whist.D.5,  the three treatises on quadrille, piquet, backgammon,apparently not sold separately, plus Memory.D.3.  Half of the six surviving copies are also bound with Brag.D.1 published by John Exshaw, suggesting a business relationship between Wilson and Exshaw.
  • PG.4, G & A Ewing, 1761
Ewing 1761
(click to enlarge)
I classify this work, pictured at right, as a collection rather than a collected edition, because one copy of Whist.D.6, a "fourteenth" edition and Memory.D.4 survives at the British Library. Surprisingly, the new appearance of whist lacks changes to the text that appeared in London in 1760. The collection continues with treatises on quadrille, backgammon and piquet, with no evidence that they were issued separately. Interestingly, it concludes with the treatise on probability, Chances.D.1. In London, the Doctrine of Chances was never included with the other works; here it was both sold separately and incorporated into this and all subsequent editions of The Polite Gamester.

Collected Editions:

Hoey 1787
(click to enlarge)
Thomas Ewing, presumably a son of George or Alexander, continued publishing The Polite Gamester after their death. For the first time in Ireland, Hoyle was available only as a single volume, as happened much earlier in London. After Thomas's death, James Hoey acquired both the rights and unsold stock which he reissued under his own title page, as described here. Peter, again presumably a son of James, published the final edition, pictured at right. It is surprising that the subsequent reprintings of Whist did not incorporate any changes to the text made after 1748, discussed in detail here.

In the next essay, we will return to 1752 and look in more detail at the competing Ewing and Wilson editions of The Polite Gamester.

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