London: Printed and are to be sold by R. Baldwin, 1697 . 8vo. [xiv], 80, 80, 80, 64, 80, 110 pp. FIRST EDITION. Contemporary calf, covers and spine with blind tooling, red speckled fore-edge; interior generally very clean. From the library of Edward Mangin (1772-1852) with his bookplate on the paste-down. Item #17462
First edition. Jones (fl. 1676–1720) was a Welsh captain in the horse guards, historical writer, and worked as a secretary interpreter in France. He recognized the public’s interest in the politics of the monarchy and thus devised The secret history as a series of letters between him and an English colleague, a spy at the French Court, from January 1676 to February 1689. The letters profess to reveal the diplomatic transaction conducted in secrecy between the French and the English over the past twenty years, including details of secret negotiations, conspiracies, and court scandals. Although the reliabilty of these letters is questionable, they do provide a fascinating and insightful read.
Jones published many works during his lifetime, but The secret history is considered his most important. Almost immediately following this text, he wrote The continuation of the secret history also published in 1697 (Wing, J934B), which contained an additional 31 letters. A second edition of both volumes were issued together in 1717.