Tales of Instruction and Amusement (Family association copy)
Coventry: Printed by Merridew & Son and Sold by William Darton, 1826.
Coventry: Printed by Merridew & Son and Sold by William Darton, 1826. First edition. Publisher's quarter roan over drab boards with gilt to spine. All edges speckled red. Measuring 135 x 85mm and collating complete: , 103, [1, errata]. Some rubbing to spine and loss to crown; front joint cracked but holding. Internally fresh with the most minimal scattered foxing. Unrecorded in OCLC and with no appearances at auction, this scarce children's book is also a family association copy, with a gift inscription on the front pastedown recording its presentation by the author's son to her mother: "Mrs. Cope, from her dutiful and affectionate grandson, Edward Bourne."
An effort of love and intellect, Tales of Instruction is marked throughout by the author's role as a mother. Just as she hopes to educate her own children, she aims to ensure that her book "may serve to establish in your minds...the love of those virtues which it illustrates." Favored among all those virtues are curiosity and a pursuit of knowledge that are never touched with pride or selfishness. In The Garden, for example, Frank and Mary live with their industrious and doting widow-mother; she ensures that they have access to books and "were very fond of reading when they had time." However, the personal time she spends teaching them practical domestic skills as well as building and valuing relationships become the most important for their lives. It is this combination that places Frank in a medical apprenticeship and both children in good marriages, given that they use their knowledge generously to benefit the community. In Precepts, meanwhile, the Davenport children are gently educated by both of their parents; each time a child makes a mistake -- whether it be a lack of tidiness, an inattentiveness to detail, or insufficient gratitude -- the Davenports write down a guiding quotation for Ellen, Jane, Frederick, Charles, and Betty. Over time, the children stop teasing each other for receiving these; for each child has a place where they can grow, none are perfect, and all can help remind each other to do better.
Notably, the lessons of the book seem to have been passed through the Bourne family itself -- with Jane Bourne's son Edward proudly gifting his copy to his grandmother. (Item #5736)