Skip to content


Original price £850.00 - Original price £850.00
Original price
£850.00 - £850.00
Current price £850.00

Soyé, Luis Rafael: Noites Jozephinas de mirtilo, sobre a infausta morte do serenisssimo senhor D. Joze Principe do Brazil. Dedicadas ao consterna do povo Luzitano. Lisboa, na Regia Officina Typographica 1790.

Copy of this finely illustrated Lisbon-printed elegiac poem for José, Prince of Brazil (1761-1788), perhaps originally from the library of Charles Murray (1733/4-1808), the British consul of Madeira 1771-1801 and resident of Lisbon - also a Roman Catholic, traveller in North America, wine merchant to George Washington, and French spy. The book carries the bookplate of his descendant, Charles Scott Murray of Hambleden in Buckinghamshire (on whom see below). Charles Murray’s residence in Portugal at around time of publication could explain how the book came into the family possession.

Charles Murray of Madeira has been identified as author of a journal recording travel from North Carolina to New York (1764-5) including evenings with colonial leaders, conversation with Catholics in Maryland, and "the only eyewitness description of the debate over the Virginia Resolves [regarding the Stamp Act] in the House of Burgesses" (Beatty). While probably on an extended business trip for the wine merchants he worked for, Murray was also spying for France, as the journal was found in a French naval archive, and contains assessments of port defences, and comments on colonists' loyalties to Britain. A letter to Murray from George Washington (Mount Vernon February 23rd 1768) to Scott, Pringle, Cheap & Co. (Murray's employers) discusses wine orders, and sends greetings, "having had the pleasure of his acquaintance whilst in Virginia". Murray's possible ownership of the present volume may shed further light on his cultural interests.

Murray had married one Eliza Scott, and from her brother their son (also Charles) inherited estates in Buckinghamshire, taking the surname Scott-Murray. There were two subsequent generations named Charles Scott-Murray (three in total). The last of this name, Charles Aloysius Scott-Murray (1847-1909) may perhaps have been owner of this bookplate, as he lived at a family house in Hambleden (the previous generations had apparently lived at a grand house nearby called Danesfield). On the other hand, Charles Murray’s own son Charles Scott-Murray (d.1837) is called Charles Scott-Murray of Hambleden in his will, so the bookplate could as easily have been for him.

The author Soyé (1760-1828), a sometime Franciscan, born in Madrid, learned painting and engraving as well as the humanities as a young man, and designed the present allegorical frontispiece. In 1802 he travelled to France to buy books for the public library in Lisbon, but was unable to return, because of poems he wrote in praise of Napoleon. He settled in Brazil, which is described here (briefly) as "terra amena, e abundante" (II, 140). The fine plates and pictorial head-pieces for this royal memorial are by artists and engravers including Jeronymo de Barros-Ferreira (1750-1803), whose contributions include the pictorial title-page and the portrait of the author, and Gregorio Francisco de Queiroz (1768-1845), who was Barros's pupil (cf. Benezit). Inocencio calls the present work "primeiro de seu genero que se imprimiu em Portugal", perhaps because of its extensive allegorical illustrations.


First edition. One volume, 17.4 cms. x 11.2 cms. in binding, octavo, pp. 148 (recte 248) [4] + 17 plates (two portraits, engraved title-page, allegorical frontispiece and 13 further plates). With 2 pp. publishers' ads. followed by blank at end. 13 engraved pictorial head-pieces.

Occasional very light foxing and soiling mostly to upper margins, flaw in blank margin, sig. E1, a very good copy, bound in a contemporary polished mottled binding (likely Portuguese, possibly sheep), gilt rules to spine, red morocco gilt label, marbled pastedowns and endpapers, crimson silk ribbon (cracking to spine, some expert and unobtrusive repairs, a good binding).

Old ink shelfmarks to f.f.e.p. verso, armorial bookplate of Charles Scott Murray of Hambleden (cf. Franks 21402; descendant of Charles Murray of Madeira, on whom see above).


Sabin 88837. Inocencio V 316-317. OCLC (2014) shows copies in US at NYPL, Getty, JCB, Catholic University, Harvard, Michigan, New Mexico, Newberry, Tulane; elsewhere KCL, BL, Biblioteca Nacional de España.

On Murray, see Joshua Beatty PhD, 'The “French Traveller,” Patrick Henry, and the Contagion of Liberty', at (viewed 2014). Article now located at:

On the family, see: Alfred Heneage Cocks, ‘The Danes’ Ditches of Danesfield (Medmenham)’, Records of Buckinghamshire, X/1 (1910), 19-26, see 22-23; G. Harvey Johnston, The heraldry of the Murrays (Edinburgh, 1910), 71; Will of Charles Scott Murray of Hambleden, Buckinghamshire, 1837, PROB 11/1880/195.