The Chronology and History of the World
by John Blair
The Chronology and History of the World was published in London in early summer 1754. The book quickly became the standard work of its kind and was frequently reprinted throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. To the 1768 edition Blair added a set of fourteen maps and ‘A dissertation on the rise and progress of geography’, which were also published separately in the same year, and in 1784 an expanded version of his dissertation was published in a smaller duodecimo format. A French translation of The Chronology and History of the World appeared in Paris in 1797, and there were several American editions in the 1820s. From 1856 onwards it was known as Blair's Chronological Tables, Revised and Enlarged, although the editor of the 1856 London edition, J. Willoughby Rosse, declared in the preface that ‘all that remains of Blair is the general outline’ (xii); a London edition was published with that title as late as 1904. The success of Blair's book led to the author's election as a fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1755; in the same year he published a paper, ‘Agitation of the waters near Reading’, in the society's Transactions. In 1761 he was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. In September 1757, through the influence at Leicester House of John Home and Gilbert Elliot, among others, Blair was appointed chaplain to Augusta, princess-dowager of Wales (to whom he later dedicated some editions of his Chronology and History), and mathematics tutor to her son Prince Edward, later duke of York, whom he accompanied on a continental tour in 1763–4. He subsequently served as Edward's secretary, and owed to him his appointment as prebendary of Westminster in March 1761, which was later followed by presentation of the dean and chapter of Westminster to the vicarage of Hinckley, to the vicarage of St Bride's, London, in 1771, and to the rectory of St John the Evangelist, Westminster, in 1776. He was also rector of Horton in Buckinghamshire.
Author: John Blair, (d. 1782)
Publication Info: London: [s.n.], 1754.
Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library
Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as Blair's Chronology. fol. and kept by Thomas Jefferson. Later sold by Jefferson to the Library of Congress. Both the Brown Bibliography and George Wythe's Library on LibraryThing list this title as the one intended by Jefferson's entry.
Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy
Rebound in quarter brown leather and red bookcloth with new endpapers.
- Richard B. Sher, ‘Blair, John (d. 1782)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 6 June 2013
- Sowerby 134
- Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file.
- LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on April 28, 2013, http://www.librarything.com/profile/GeorgeWythe