A New Plan for speedily increasing the number of bee-hives in Scotland; and which may be extended with equal success, to England, Ireland, America, or to any other part of the world capable of producing flowers

London J. Moir... 1795 8vo.(20.8 x 13.1 cm). Contemporary half calf over marbled boards rubbed with minor loss, spine gilt in compartments, modern gilt morocco leather label, new end papers. Collation:[2], xx, 258, [2] pp. lacking half title. Top of title page trimmed (ca. 1cm). The text has some minor foxing at the front and rear of the book. "James Bonner, an 18th-century beekeeper living in Edinburgh, was one of the first to address the specific problem of keeping bees in Scotland:'It is not the want of proper pasture, that prevents bees from thriving well every year in this country. The only preventative is the inconstancy of the weather; for if it be windy, or cloudy, they will not go out of the hive; and, on the other hand, though the day should be quite dry, yet if the weather be cold, the bees will collect very little honey.' In stating that the purpose of his book was 'to excite men of property, who are the only proper persons to be addressed on the business, to exert themselves with spirit and perseverance to promote the increase of bee-hives in this country', he shows he is writing for landed gentry."(National Library of Scotland). Bonner was the son of James Bonner the elder, an enthusiastic and successful bee-keeper, who, his son recalled, 'frequently boasted, that, in good seasons, he made as much money by his bees, as nearly purchased oat-meal sufficient to serve his numerous family for the whole year. He purchased a large quarto Bible with the wax produced in one year from his hives, which served as a family book ever after; and his house was always well supplied with honey, and a kind of weak mead, which served for drink at all seasons of the year' (p. iv). Very Good Contemporary half calf (Item ID: 0000565)


James Bonner the younger was Bee-Master at Auchencrow, near Berwick-on-Tweed, and is described by British Bee Books as 'the most able and the best known of Scottish bee-men'. A New Plan was founded upon Bonner's earlier work The Bee-Master's Companion, and Assistant (Berwick: 1789), 'which', as the author states in his preface, 'he was happy to find, attracted the notice, and procured him the patronage, of many respectable and public-spirited gentlemen. Encouraged by these flattering marks of approbation, he had thoughts of publishing a second edition; but as, in the continued prosecution of this his favourite study, he has made a number of very important discoveries relative to these useful insects, he thought it better to present these new ideas, along with the substance of his former work, compressed into as small bounds as possible, in a new form, and under a new title, than merely to reprint the old work with additions' (pp. viii-ix). British Bee Books records a variant issue of the first edition with the erroneous 'Word' for 'World' in the title and the imprint 'Printed and sold by the author and by Brash & Reid, Glasgow'; a further edition (with the author's surname given as Bonar) appeared the following year under the title A Treatise on the New Natural History and Management of Bees, with a New Plan Founded on Practice (Edinburgh: J. Moir, 1796). British Bee Books 151; Cox III, p. 535; ESTC T131963; cf. Fussell II, p. 134.

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