Price and Provenance 12

Pride and Prejudice 3rd edition and the Crimean War

This posting is about my copy of the third edition of Pride and Prejudice and a link between its first owner and me, through the unlikely route of the Crimean War.

The First and Second Editions of Pride and Prejudice

The first three editions of Pride and Prejudice were all published by T. Egerton of Whitehall in London, who had also previously published Jane Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility. Although Pride and Prejudice was published after Sense and Sensibility, it is generally agreed that the first draft of the novel, known to have been called First Impressions, was written before Sense and Sensibility. Jane’s sister, Cassandra Austen, reported that First Impressions was written between October 1796 and August 1797 at Steventon. Jane’s father, the Rev. George Austen, is known to have written to the London publisher Cadell about the manuscript on 1st November 1797, only to receive a rapid rejection of it sight unseen. We also know from letters that the family enjoyed readings of First Impressions in 1799. Before the publication of Sense and Sensibility, we know that Jane Austen returned to her “rejected” manuscript for major revisions around 1809-1810, changing the title as another author, Margaret Holford, had already published a novel called First Impressions in 1800. We know that the title Pride and Prejudice comes from the repeated use of the phrase on page 303 of Volume V of Fanny Burney’s Cecilia, a book that we know that Jane Austen possessed. After the successful publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811, Jane Austen famously “lopt and cropt” the manuscript of Pride and Prejudice in 1812, before selling the copyright to Egerton for 110 pounds.

The first edition of Pride and Prejudice was published in late January 1813 in three volumes in an edition of 1000 copies. Where the first edition of Sense and Sensibility was famously written “By a Lady”, Pride and Prejudice carried the by-line “By the Author of Sense and Sensibility.” Pride and Prejudice is first recorded in a newspaper advertisement published on 28th January 1813, where the novel was advertised as on sale for 18 shillings. Although positive reviews were published in February, March and April of that same year, its reputation was largely spread by word of mouth and there was much conjecture about the identity, and even the gender, of the author.

The first edition of Pride and Prejudice sold out in a few months, and the second editions of both Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility were published by Egerton in late 1813. They were both in the original three volume format of the first editions, and although Jane Austen had made some slight changes to the second edition of Sense and Sensibility, it is believed that she had no opportunity to make any alterations to the second edition of Pride and Prejudice, and was not shown a proof. There are a few minor textural differences between the first and second editions of Pride and Prejudice that are generally explained as the correction of printer’s errors from the first edition, as well as the introduction of some new printer’s errors into the second. There is no definitive information on how many copies of the second edition were printed and sold, but the number is believed to be 1000 copies. David Gilson recorded in his bibliography that about 50 copies of the first edition and 25 copies of the second edition were known to have survived into the late 20th century.

The Third Edition of Pride and Prejudice

The third edition of Pride and Prejudice was the final edition of Jane Austen that was published by Egerton, following the first two editions of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice and the first edition of Mansfield Park in 1814. Indeed, it was in part the refusal of Egerton to publish a second edition of Mansfield Park that led to Henry Austen, Jane’s brother and de facto literary agent, to approach John Murray about the publication of the first edition of Emma and a second edition of Mansfield Park in 1816.

The third edition of Pride and Prejudice was published in 1817 as a two volume edition for 12 shillings. The precise date of publication is not known, and is of particular interest as Jane Austen died on July 18th 1817. Gilson reported knowledge of a copy with an inscription dated September 6th 1817, but more recently, a dealer has reported seeing a copy with an inscription from July 1817. There is no evidence that Jane Austen or any other member of the family had any input into the making of the third edition. The number of copies printed is not known, but is unlikely to be more than 1000. Gilson reported the existence of around 25 copies, including two in their original light blue binding.

To construct a two-volume version of Pride and Prejudice from the earlier three-volume versions required a renumbering of the chapters, as the chapter numbering was restarted for each volume. The first and second editions of Pride and Prejudice were made up as follows: Volume 1: Chapters 1-23; Volume 2: Chapters 1-19; Volume 3: Chapters 1-19, making 61 chapters in total. The third edition was constructed by making Volume 1 contain 33 chapters, that is all of Volume 1 from the first edition together with chapters 1-10 from Volume 2 of the first edition. Volume 2 of the third edition was made up of chapters 11-19 from Volume 2 of the first edition together with all 19 chapters from the original Volume 3. Unfortunately, Egerton misnumbered the chapters in Volume 2 of the third edition, numbering them 1-11 and 13-29, so that there appear to be 62 chapters rather than 61.

The structure of the third edition is important, as almost all of the reprints of Pride and Prejudice for the following 100 years use the text of the Egerton third edition as their source. There was no major review of the text until the Oxford edition edited by Robert Chapman was published in 1923. Fortunately, no other publishers repeated the chapter numbering mistake made by Egerton.

My copy of the third edition of Pride and Prejudice.

Figure 1 below shows my copy of the third edition of Pride and Prejudice. The books are in a rather worn half binding of brown marbled boards and brown soft leather on the spine and corners. The binding looks as if it could be contemporary, since the style is consistent with a binding of the first quarter of the 19th century. It is certainly not the original binding, which should be in light blue paper-covered boards.

The title pages of the two volumes are shown in Figure 2 below. They are typical of the style of title pages of their time, giving the standard information of title, author, volume number, publisher details and date with no decoration other than the small horizontal lines.

The “byline” is “by the author of Sense and Sensibility &c”, with the “&c” relating to Mansfield Park and Emma, which had been published in 1814 and 1816. Like the first and second editions of Pride and Prejudice, the publisher’s details are given as London: Printed for T. Egerton| Military Library, Whitehall. This is slightly misleading, as Egerton’s offices were actually in St. Martin’s Lane, but I think that the combination of “Military” and “Whitehall” is deliberately used in an attempt to make the publisher sound more prestigious. You can see from the images that the pages show some foxing, the brown discolouration caused by the interaction of mould with acidic paper. Indeed the paper quality is not particularly good, which is one of the issues that Henry Austen had with Egerton’s editions of his sister’s works. Both volumes were printed by C. Roworth of Bell-Yard, Temple-Bar. Roworth had printed Volume 1 of both the first and second editions of Pride and Prejudice, but not volumes two or three of those editions. The Roworth printing is generally regarded as superior to the printing of the other two volumes by G. Sidney. The next figure is of the first page of chapter 1 of volume 1, with the famous opening sentence. You can see from this scan that the thinness of the paper is allowing a faint image of the printing on the verso to be visible.

Figure 3 First page of Pride and Prejudice

The word edition means that the type was reset anew for each edition, and this is clear by comparing the third edition with the two earlier ones, as the font size, line length and text block size are different from the first two editions. There are no illustrations in any of the Egerton editions of Jane Austen’s novels.

Provenance of my third edition of Pride and Prejudice

There are two very helpful items of evidence to identify the original owner of the book. There is a hand written inscription on the ffep of volume 2, and an armorial bookplate on the front paste-downs. Images of these are shown in Figure 4.

The inscription is ” Elizabeth Maria Philipps, Williamston” and the armorial bookplate is labelled “Pentre” with the motto “Solem Ferre Possum.” A little research soon revealed that Pentre was a place not a family name, and the coat of arms was of the Saunders-Davies family of Pentre in South Wales. On 31st July 1826, Elizabeth Maria Philipps, only daughter of Captain Owen Philipps of Williamstown, Pembrokeshire married David Arthur Saunders-Davies, of Pentre, Manordeifi near Boncath in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

The signature is clearly of Elizabeth Maria Philipps prior to her marriage, as she is using her maiden name and the name of the residence of her father. The 3rd edition was published in a single issue by Egerton in the middle of 1817, to our best knowledge. Miss Philipps, as she was before her marriage, must have obtained her copy some time between mid-1817 and mid-1826. Her birth date is unknown, nor is there any baptismal record for her, but from her age on her death certificate, she must have been born in 1805 or 1806, making her 19 or 20 years old at her marriage. It seems to me to be most likely that she obtained the book in her early teenage years, shortly after the book was published. The signature certainly looks quite firmly written and mature. The Pentre bookplate would have been applied following her marriage, when she took up residence as the lady of the house, her mother-in-law, Susannah Saunders, having died in 1823. The house passed into the ownership of her husband three years later, when his father Dr. David Davies died in 1829.

The mansion Pentre is shown below in a modern photograph. This is essentially the house as it was rebuilt and restored in the early 19th century. There had been several houses on the site for many centuries, and the estate had belonged to the Saunders family since the late 17th century. Dr David Davies had married the heiress of the Saunders estates, Susannah Saunders (1755-1823), who was the last survivor of the three daughters of Erasmus Saunders, on the understanding that their children would adopt the name Saunders-Davies. The house stayed in the Saunders-Davies family for five more generations of inheritance through the eldest son, until the 1950s.

Figure 5. Pentre from the air in the late 20th century

I have no information on how my Pride and Prejudice left Pentre. Group Captain D A P Saunders-Davies, the last Saunders-Davies owner of Pentre, gave up the house around the early 1950s, and one imagines that there might have been a sale of the contents around that time, which would have included books. I bought the book in 2015 from a dealer in the East Midlands of England, who had acquired it from an English collector.

The Crimean War connection

Elizabeth Maria Philipps and David Arthur Saunders-Davies had five children, two daughters and three sons, born between 1829 and 1837. Elizabeth died on 19th July 1851 at Pentre. Her youngest daughter seems to have died during infancy, but her four eldest children survived her. The middle child was Owen Gwyn Saunders-Davies, who had been born early in 1834. After attending Eton, he joined the army and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 38th Regiment of Foot. The Crimean War between Britain, the Ottoman Empire and France on the one side and Russia on the other started in October 1853. One of the bloodiest battles was the assault on the Great Redan stronghold, during the siege of Sevastopol, on 18th June 1855. 2nd Lieutenant Owen Gwyn Saunders-Davies died during that assault. He was only 21 years old. His mother Elizabeth had not lived long enough to have to cope with that loss to the family.

There is an engraved portrait of 2nd Lieutenant Owen Gwyn Saunders-Davies in the National Portrait Gallery in London, which is taken from a drawing by Thomas Brigstocke, a Welsh artist and a relative of the Saunders-Davies family. The portrait shows the young officer in uniform.

Lt. Owen Gwyn Saunders-Davies

This early death has always resonated with me, as my great grandfather, William Butcher (1825-1877), had been a Sergeant in the 68th Regiment of Foot and had served in the Crimean War. He had fought at the first two great battles of the war, Alma and Balaclava, and was shot in the abdomen during the battle of Inkerman on 5th November 1854. He must have been tough, since he survived and continued his army career, including action in India following the mutiny in 1857, until his discharge from the army in 1865. He married and started a family shortly after leaving the army, so if he had not survived his wound at Inkerman, I would not be here! Like many of the veterans of the Battle of Alma, he named his first born daughter Alma. The picture below shows a group of men from the 68th Regiment of Foot during the Crimean campaign. I doubt that my great-grandfather is in the picture, but it is still an image that I value.

Members of the Saunders-Davies family are still alive and I have been in correspondence with Elizabeth Maria Philipps’ five-times great-grand-daughter, who has given me information on the family, for which I am very grateful. I was pleased to send her a scan of her five-time great grandmother’s signature, and share with her the thought that her ancestor may have been an early fan of Jane Austen.


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