Edinburgh: for W. Strahan; T. Cadell; and J. Balfour, 1777. First edition. Two large Quarto volumes in polished calf over marbled boards. Bound without the four maps (sometimes found bound into the first edition), but with two copies of the folding Aztec plate. Generally a wide-margined, textually complete set of Robertson's important early work on the discovery of America and the early Spanish colonization efforts. Hurried to the press in 1777 as a result of the Revolutionary War, Robertson had intended to release a more comprehensive history, but found some work potentially irrelevant during the changing times. With a "Viscount Ashbrook, The Castle" bookplate on the front paste-down of each volume.
Scottish historian Robertson contributed significantly to our understanding of global politics and social progress. The History of America is considered one of his key works, and it is celebrated as "the first sustained attempt to describe the discovery, conquest, and settlement of Spanish America" and in it he posits that "it was the development of commerce, assisted by law and private property, which was held to be chiefly responsible for the advance of civilization" (Brading). An influential member of the Scottish Enlightenment, Robertson would go on to become a founding member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. (Item #2352)