BOSWELL, James (1740-1795) -- GOODWIN, Thomas (1600-1680). The Returne of Prayers: a treatise wherein this case [How to discerne Gods answers to our prayers] is briefly resolved. London: R. Dawlman and L. Fawne, 1638.
12° (140 x 82mm). With blank A1. (Title stained and with old paper repair on verso.) Contemporary sheep, covers with single fillet border and fleuron at centre, flat spine ruled in double fillets (spine worn), red morocco solander case by H. Zucker, Philadelphia. Provenance: James Boswell (inscribed 'James Boswell Edinburgh 1779' on blank A1r) -- [Charles T. Jeffery (according to a bookseller's decription)]. Exhibited: Grolier Club (1950s exhibition label loosely inserted).
JAMES BOSWELL'S COPY of the fifth edition. This popular treatise would have provided important support for Boswell's belief in the efficacy of prayer, not only as a means of controlling his own anarchic impulses, but as a trusted method of inculcating religious principles into his children. He took pleasure in hearing his children say their prayers, and the high importance he attached to prayer is seen in a particular incident -- his daughter, Veronica's, unexpected announcement of atheism on 19 December, 1779: 'At night after we were in bed, Veronica spoke out from her little bed and said, "I do not believe there is a GOD." "Preserve me," said I, "my dear, what do you mean?" She answered, "I have thinket it many a time, but did not like to speak of it." I was confounded and uneasy, and tried her with the simple argument that without GOD there would not be all the things we see. "It is he who made the sun shine." Said she: "It shines only on good days." Said I: "GOD made you." Said she: "My mother bore me." It was a strange and alarming thing to her mother and me to hear our little angel talk thus.' However, the knowledge that his daughter had said her prayers that night and intended to say them again in the morning provided hope, and he records: 'I prayed to GOD to prevent such thoughts from entering into her mind' (Laird of Auchinleck 1778-1782, ed. J.W. Reed and F.A. Pottle, 1993, p. 150). STC 12042.