JENNER, Thomas

Londons blame, if not its shame: manifested by the great neglect of the fishery, which affordeth to our neighbor nation yeerly, the revenue of many millions.

[London], Printed for T[homas] J[enner] at the south entrance of the Royal Exchange, 1651.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [ii], 14. A-B4. Roman letter some Italic. Title within typographical border, woodcut initials, typographical and woodcut ornaments. Light browning, fore-edge of t-p slightly chipped, occasional marginal spot or stain. A good copy, well margined, in modern marbled paper boards.

Rare first edition of this interesting work on fisheries and the lack of their exploitation by the British fishing industry, an important early treatise in the benefits of concerted investment in a particular industry. The work set out in eight clear points why such an investment would be beneficial from an “Encrease in Shipping” and an “Encrease of private Wealth” to an “Encrease of Power abroad”. “Jenner was one of the main London print publishers and sellers; his active career spanned over half a century. His beginnings remain obscure. He was a member of the Grocers’ Company, and was possibly the Thomas Jenneu, son of James, who received his freedom in 1619. His earliest publication, a portrait by Delaram (Hind II 229.28), is securely dated to 1618. There are strong reasons for thinking that he took over the short-lived business of Maurice Blount which was at the same address. … The prints made for him in 1621 by Willem de Passe, who was married to an ‘Elisabeth Jennerts’ – presumably a relation – were the finest produced in London at the time, and were entered into the Stationers’ register on his behalf by George Fairbeard. Jenner still produced some significant plates in the 1630s (eg the portrait of the Earl of Northumberland by Cornelis van Dalen, Hind III 254.5), but his stock went steadily down-market over the years, and by his death he was only a marginal figure. .. In 1651 he wrote a political pamphlet, ‘London’s blame if not its shame’, attacking supine government policy over the fishing industry. Although Jenner was a specialist print publisher, many of his publications include letterpress.” British Museum.

“Not all Jenner’s books were devotional, and with London’s Blame if not its Shame (1651) he revealed both patriotism and business acumen. The work is a plea for developing the fishing of English coastal waters which, Jenner argues, if efficiently exploited would not only provide a vital source of food but also give employment ‘for a thousand Ships, and at least twenty thousand Fishermen and Mariners at Sea, and consequently as for as many Tradesmen and Labourers at Land’ (London’s Blame, 10).” DNB.

“Although seventeenth-century writers often stated the principle that the gain of one party in trade was at the expense of the other, suggesting a finite understanding of commerce, they were simultaneously able to envisage how it might expand without resulting in a corresponding loss. Most simply, it was possible to increase agricultural and industrial production alike: English territories contained vast natural resources ripe for exploitation, as reflected in the huge number of agricultural pamphlets of the period, as well as a burgeoning interest in technological inventions, in mining, land drainage, and numerous other enterprises. And if husbandry could fuel expanded trade, the seas surrounding Britain offered what was believed to be ‘a continual Sea-harvest of grain’, from ‘infinite shoals and multitudes of Fishes’. T. Jenner, Londons blame, if not its shame (London, 1651), p. 1.” Leng, T. ‘Commercial conflict and regulation in the discourse of trade in seventeenth-century England.’

ESTC R202638. Wing J667. Thomason, E.624 [4]. Goldsmiths’-Kress no.1199.


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Alieuticon, sive De Piscibus … Plinii Naturalis Historiae Libri Duo … P. Iovii De Piscibus.

Argentorati [Strasbourg], Jacob Cammerlander, 1534.


FIRST EDITION thus. Small 4to. ff. (iv) 152. Roman letter, some marginalia in Greek. Printer’s woodcut device on last (winged and blindfolded Fortune with no feet on a small sphere, holding a shield bearing a shoe and five stars), woodcut initials. Light age-yellowing, one gathering oxidised, occasional light foxing, a few lines crossed out in Giovio’s treatise, a couple of later manuscript annotations, first and last gathering loose, stubs from a splendid Gothic manuscript commentary of the Venerable Bede. A handsome copy in contemporary limp vellum, remains of ties.

Rare first collective edition comprising Laurentius Lippius’ 1478 translation of Oppian’s poem on fishes, together with Pliny’s two books on the same subject (IX and XXXII) from his Natural History, and with Giovio’s treatise on Roman fishes, all edited for the first time by the physician and philosopher Iohannes Caesarius (1460 – 1551). The book opens with a two-page alphabetical list of the fishes mentioned, followed by a short biography of Oppian, dedicated by Lippius to Lorenzo De’ Medici.

Oppian’s ‘Alieuticon’ is a long poem on fishing (c. 3,500 lines), divided into five books dealing with, i.a., mating, breeding, fighting, hooks and nets, etc. Each book has a short introduction by Lippius, who also wrote the twelve pages of ‘Disticha’ (i.e. couplets on various subjects, mostly animals and plants) coming after the ‘Alieuticon.’ Next follow Pliny’s two chapters, the first describing all sorts of aquatic creatures, including Tritons and Nereids, whales and dolphins, salmons, eels, crabs, shells, starfishes etc., the second concentrating on their pharmaceutical use.

Giovio lists and variously describes the fishes known to the Romans, such as sturgeon (the ones in the river Tiber being particularly delicate), grey mullet (to be eaten with oregano to make it more digestible), bream, red mullet (delicious with orange juice), turbot (to be cooked with little salt, leeks and dill), sole, eel, trout, pike, octopus, seafood, and many more. All the descriptions are packed with information and quotations from the classics. Little is known about Oppian, who flourished during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (AD 161 – 180), wrote a poem on hunting (as well as the above-mentioned on fishing), and died at the early age of thirty.

BM STC Ger. C16th p. 662. Adams O202. Graesse V p. 29. Durling 3400. This edition not in Brunet, Dibdin, Schwerdt or Oberlé. Not in Bibliotheca Osleriana, Heirs of Hippocrates, Morton, Wellcome, Bitting or Vicaire.


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