“TO POCKET DICE AND MILLIONS TOO”
JOHN AGG, PRINTER, BOOKSELLER & WRITER, EVESHAM,
Agg began his professional life as an apprentice bookseller and printer in Evesham. The British Booktrade index lists his dates of operation as 1790-1825 and his Bristol operation as 1809. After the end of his apprenticeship, he founded a printing and bookselling business in Bristol and published various works including a newspaper, the Mercury, and a history of Bristol in serialised parts. The latter was not successful and led to the failure of his business, after which he moved to London and appears to have some attempts to live by his pen on a more substantial basis.
During his time in Evesham, Agg combined his printing and bookselling with professional writing and seems to have resumed printing after a short period in London for by 1812 he was publishing again in Evesham. He is stated to be the first printer employed by the noted 19th century bibliophile, Sir Thomas Phillips, producing works such as Inquiries…to the Nobility…of Oxfordshire and The Pedigree of Thomas Grove, of Ferne House, in the County of Wilts, Esq. Anno Dom. in 1819 cf Moule. Bibliotheca heraldic Magnae Britanniae (1822). DCCLXXXIX. and Munby. The Formation of the Phillipps Library Up to the Year 1840. PSS No.3 p.11.
Agg’s writings were primarily primarily fiction. His novel, Mcdermot, or the Irish chieftain: a romance, intended as a companion to the Scottish chiefs was published in London in 1810, Edwy & Elgiva in 1811 with others following in 1815 & 1816. His writings seem to have led him into hot water for in 1814, we see him in the King’s Bench Prison for libel.
We have a rare example of John Agg’s earlier writing and publishing offered here:
Humphrey Hedgehog i.e. John Agg.
A consolatory epistle to a noble lord, on the sudden and unexpected close of his political career.
Evesham Printed And Sold By J.Agg. Sold Also By Messrs Longman, Hurst, Rees And Orme, Paternoster-Row, London. 1805
4to,  24 p., 27cm, disbound, dusty fold line, spine strengthened.
Only edition of this provincially printed rare satirical attack in verse on Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville, whose financial management of the Admiralty whilst treasurer between 1782 and 1800 had been the subject of a commission of inquiry which reported in 1805 with regard to misappropriation of public money. He was also a key figure in the promotion of the Scottish Enlightenment. A good copy (upper title page corner restored and two small paper repairs with loss of a couple of text letters to title, short tear to blank upper margin of one leaf). COPAC sole copy (BL); Not in Worldcat. [Ref: 592] £180
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