Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Piquet and Quadrille Literature

In "Eighteenth Century Whist Literature," I looked at early works in English on the game of whist other than those by Edmond Hoyle. In a similar vein, this essay will examine early works on quadrille and piquet. As I noted in "Bibliography of the Cogan Hoyles," Hoyle published Piquet in January 1744 and Quadrille in October 1744 and the text remained in print well into the 19th century. What literature predated Hoyle? What else was published in the 18th century?

Editions of The Compleat Gamester and The Court Gamester, discussed in "The Predecessors of Hoyle" mention both games. Unlike whist, there were also separately-published books on both games that predated Hoyle.

For piquet we have the 1651 work The royall and delightfull game of picquet. Written in French: and now rendred into English out of the last French edition. London: printed for J. Martin, and J. Ridley. The French literature on piquet goes back another two decades to Le jeu du picquet, Paris: Charles Hulpeau, 1631, the earliest book in French on any card game. It was reprinted a number of times in the 17th century and is likely what was translated into English in 1651. (See Depaulis, Les Loix du Jeux.)

The only other 18th century book on piquet is A New Treatise on Piquet; in French and English, London: printed and sold for Mess. J. Walter; and R. Davis about 1765. The author is "Mr. de Chateauneuf, captain of the Conde Regiment of Infantry. Acknowledged to be the most able player at Piquet in Europe." I date the book from an advertisement in the Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser of December 31, 1765.

de Chateauneuf, Piquet
The book is curious. Each opening consists of French text on the left and English on the right. Interestingly, the French title page gives a cost of 18 sols, while the English title says one shilling and sixpence, suggesting that the book was sold in both countries.  It is quite rare, with ESTC recording a copy at the Huntington and two incomplete copies at the Bodleian.

One work on quadrille predates Hoyle—The Game of Quadrille; or Ombre by Four, with its establish'd Laws and Rules, As it is now Play'd at the French Court. The book was printed in London for R. Francklin and is undated, but the book was likely printed in the mid-1720s. It is advertised as "this day is republish'd" in the August 13, 1726 issue of the Daily Post. The title page indicates that it was "done from the French, just printed at Paris." It is an extract from the 1724 work Les Jeux de Quadrille et de Quintille, printed in Paris for Theodore Le Gras.

Hoyle's Quadrille was published in 1744 and two decades later the game must have surged in popularity—three new books appeared in short order. The May 1, 1764 issue of the Public Advertiser notes two of them in adjacent advertisements. The first is A Brief and Necessary Supplement to all Former Treatises on Quadrille, by No Adept, printed for T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt in London. Julian Marshall writes that the book:
...consists mainly of a criticism of Hoyle's quadrille, favourable on the whole, but particularizing the points on which the writer differs from our author. In the dedication "To the Ladies," he tells them that "After reading this little book, you will understand what Mr. Hoyle says as well as any man in England..." ("Books on Gaming" in Notes and Queries, 7th S. IX. February 22, 1890, page 144).
Interestingly, other advertisements (for example, the London Evening Post of February 12, 1765) note that  the book "will go into a fan," suggesting that the text was incorporated into a ladies fan, perhaps like the ones I describe in "The fans of Hoyle."

The second of the advertisements is for another book with parallel French and English texts:
In the press, and next week will be published, at the particular desire of several persons of distinction, in French and English, A Treatise upon Real Quadrille, A work published within these six weeks at Paris, which is totally different from that of Mr. Hoyle, and all other treatises that have hitherto appeared upon this game.
It is not clear what Parisian book the advertisement refers to—no such work appears in Depaulis, the standard bibliography of French books on card games.

Martin, Quadrille
The book was printed in 1764 in London for G. Burnet from the original French of Mons. Martin. Although the publisher is different from the one who published de Chateauneuf's Piquet, the appearance of the book is identical. French and English appear on facing pages. Unlike de Chateauneuf, both title pages give the price of 2 shillings sixpence, in English currency for a sewn binding. Like de Chateauneuf, the book is rare, with institutional copies only at the British Library and the University of Missouri.

de  Bergeron, Free Masons Quadrille.
A third quadrille book appeared about the same time, The Free Masons Quadrille; with the Solitary. Printed by order of the Prince of Conti, Grand Master of the Lodges in France; and revised by Mr. De Bergeron...In French and English. London: printed for J. Walter and G. Burnet, 1765. The book is not recorded in ESTC or Depaulis; Jessel had not seen the book, but found it mentioned in a monthly list of books for 1764 (item 1404 in his bibliography). The price is listed as one shilling in both French and English.

Update April 29, 2015: In addition to my copy, there is one in the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London, shelf mark A 750 FRE.

Note that Walter and Davis published de Chateauneuf, Burnet published Martin, while Walter and Burnet published de Bergeron. An advertisement in the Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser of December 12, 1731, brings the three works and the three publishers together:
This day is published, A New Treatise upon Real Quadrille, printed for R. Davis..., J. Walter...; and G. Burnet...where may be had, A New Treatise on Piquette, French and English, by M. Dechateauneuf; and the Free Mason's Quadrille
The three rare works, each with the facing French and English text, are also brought together in my copy, in the elegant contemporary tree calf binding, pictured below.

two views of binding
The bibliographer in me wonders if this was a publisher's binding. The prices of the individual works, both in the title pages and the advertisements, suggests they were sewn rather than leather bound. Indeed the Martin title page explicitly said it was sewn. The one advertisement which mentions the three titles, does not offer the three bound as a single volume. Yet my copy shows no evidence of other sewing, as was apparent in a number of Hoyles, discussed in "Hoyle's 'sixth' edition and progressive ornament damage" here or in "The Osborne Collections of Hoyle (1745-7)" here. Having seen many copies of Cogan Hoyles bound together, I concluded in another essay that Cogan issued collections of Hoyle's separately-published works.

With the overlapping publishers of the three works, their similar appearance, and the single advertisement offering each of them, it seems possible that this is a publisher's binding, though one fancier than I am used to seeing on English gaming books. It is more typical of the bindings of contemporary French gaming books. There are so few copies of these titles, each of which was issued separately, that likely we'll never know if this is a publisher's or a bespoke binding. 


The bibliographical writings of Marshall, Jessel, and Depaulis are detailed in my essay "Where can I learn more about Hoyle's writing?"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A conversation with Edmond Hoyle

A friend of mine asked me, "If you had a time machine, what would you say to Mr. Hoyle?" I replied:
If I were to tell something to Mr. Hoyle it would be that his name would be immortalized in the phrase "according to Hoyle" and would be recognizable by most people in the English-speaking world more than three centuries after his birth. What would I ask Mr. Hoyle? That question has been running through my head since I saw your post. I decided it's worth a full blog post which I will get to in the next few weeks.
 Here are my top five questions:

(1) What did you do before publishing A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist?

Hoyle was born in 1672 and published his first book in 1742 at the age of 69 or 70. There is absolutely no evidence about any aspect of his life before that time, other than a hint about the prior year in the heading to chapter 14:

Some purchasers of the treatise in manuscript, disposed of the last winter, having desired a further explanation concerning the playing of sequences, they are explained in the following manner.
Hoyle presumably sold the manuscript, no copies of which survive, to his private whist pupils.

Where was Hoyle born and what were his circumstances? His writing reflects education—where did he acquire it? Did he have a trade or profession? Where did he learn to play the games? Was he a professional gamester? Where did he play? What was his income? In short, what did Hoyle do for the first 70 years of his life????

In the decade and a half before 1742, whist became fashionable in high society. Was Hoyle involved in the elevation of whist, perhaps a member of Lord Folkestone's circle? 
Lord Folkestone should ever be held in high esteem by whist-players for his services in taking up and developing the game, which at that time was just emerging from obscurity and from its very humbles surroundings. He formed one of a select circle at the Crown Coffee-House, in Bedford Row, London, and here is where scientific whist had its first beginning in 1728; for these gentlemen, under his leadership devised a code of regulations and otherwise greatly improved the game...Thus the game was made ready for Hoyle to take it up and bring it into great popularity. (Butler, p180)
(2) Who were your pupils? How did your lessons differ form the text of your writings?

There are some letters to magazines purporting to be from students of Hoyle, as I discuss in the essay "Contemporary References to Hoyle," but their apparent satire casts doubt on their accuracy.

Did Hoyle play whist with his students, critiquing their play? Did he present prepared hands to them, much like the cases in his treatise? How free was Hoyle to criticize his society pupils? Did he socialize with his students? 

How strong a player was Hoyle at the games he discussed? Recall the disparaging quote from Matthews in 1804 at the end of an essay on Hoyle collectibles? 

How would Hoyle have adapted to the changes in whist and its evolution to bridge? To the changes in backgammon with the invention of the doubling cube in the 1930s?

(3)  What were your contractual relationships with your publishers?

We know that Hoyle self-published the first edition of Whist, recording it at Stationer's Hall on November 11,1 742. He sold the copyright to Francis Cogan for 100 Guineas in February 1743, a great transaction for Hoyle, and a disastrous one for Cogan. To combat the piracies, we know that Hoyle continued to make addition to Whist and that he signed every genuine copy. We don't know what payment he received for the additions, but March 1743, Cogan agreed to pay Hoyle two pence per copy for the autograph. The story is recounted in the article "Pirates, Autographs, and a Bankruptcy."

Hoyle wrote later treatises for Cogan: Backgammon, An Artificial Memory for Whist, Piquet, and Quadrille. Backgammon was entered at Stationer's Hall in on June 28, 1743 and Piquet on January 11, 1744 in the names of both Hoyle and Cogan. Neither Memory nor Quadrille were recorded there. What were the terms by which those books were published?

Hoyle wrote and John Jolliffe published two more treatises—on brag (1751) and the doctrine of chances (1754). They were sold by subscription. What were the terms of the contract for those books? 

Thomas Osborne, Jr. acquired the rights to Hoyle in 1745, just before the first of Cogan's two bankruptcies. We know that Osborne made a one-time payment to Hoyle of 25 pounds in lieu of continuing paying two pence per signature. Osborne later acquired the rights to the doctrine of chances (though not brag) and published Hoyle's work on Chess in 1761. What were the terms for those books?

(4) What was your reaction to the satiric play The Humours of Whist?

I discuss the play in two essays, one discussing the play as a satire of Hoyle and another as a satire of piracy. Did he find the play amusing? Did it increase his notoriety and the sales of his books? 

(5) Why oh why oh why did you not distinguish between strategy and partnership agreement in the game of whist?

Granted, this is an unfair criticism to lay at Hoyle's feet. I explain the distinction between these two aspects of playing at whist in part 2 of my essay on "The Nature of Gaming Literature." In Hoyle's time and for a hundred years after, there was no sense that different partnerships might choose to have different agreements. For example, do you lead the K or Q from a suit headed by both? The trick-taking power is equivalent—the question is one of information. Does the lead of the K promise the Q or deny it? Modern bridge partnership are split on this and hundreds of similar questions. Each partnerships must choose among approaches. 

The failure to distinguish between strategy, partnership agreement, and the rules of the game persists in bridge books to this day. Indeed, it is worse, as the two concepts extend to bidding—something that does not take place in bridge. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I claim that hundreds of millions of bridge players have been worse off for not appreciating the distinction. Hoyle could have made things so much better. 

An opportunity missed....

Do you have any questions for Mr. Hoyle?


William Mill Butler, The Whist Reference Book. Philadelphia: John C. Yorston. 1899.

Monday, August 6, 2012

An unrecorded Dublin Hoyle?

I picked up another Hoyle at auction last month and it is quite unusual. It is a 1776 Irish reprint of Hoyle's treatise on whist together with his Artificial Memory. I disparaged the latter work in my essay "An Artificial Memory for Whist." The once elegant, now shabby binding, pictured at right is certainly not a publisher's binding—the Irish reprinters used cheap, undecorated calf or sheep. The curiousity is the text. If published as it now survives, it is a previously unrecorded issue of Hoyle.

First some background both about the individual treatises in Dublin and about The Polite Gamester, the Dublin collection of all of Hoyle's works.

In my essay on "Individual Treatises in Ireland," I commented on the difficulty of identifying all of the separately-published treatises. As compared with London publications, they survive in much smaller number and newspaper advertisements for them are less numerous and more difficult to locate. I proposed a list of editions for Whist and the Artificial Memory:
  • Whist.D.1: "fourth" edition, George Ewing, 1743
  • Whist.D.2: "fifth" edition, George Ewing, 1743
  • Whist.D.3: "fifth" edition, G. and A. Ewing, 1745
  • Whist.D.4: "thirteenth" edition, G. and A. Ewing, 1752 (no copies survive except as part of The Polite Gamester. Likely sold only with Memory.D.2)
  • Whist.D.5: "fifth" edition, Peter Wilson, 1752 (likely sold only with Memory.D.3)
  • Whist.D.6: "fourteenth" edition, G. and A. Ewing, 1762 (likely sold only with Memory.D.4)
  • Memory.D.1: G. & A. Ewing, 1744
  • Memory.D.2: G. & A. Ewing, 1751 (likely sold only with Whist.D.4)
  • Memory.D.3: Peter Wilson, 1752 (likely sold only with Whist.D.5)
  • Memory.D.4: G. & A. Ewing, 1762 (likely sold only with Whist.D.6)
The treatises are most often found issued as part of a collected volume which I discuss in the essay "The Polite Gamester". It appeared to me that Gamesters through 1761 were collections, that is the individual treatises were sold separately, but could also be bought as a single volume. I felt that beginning with the 1772 edition printed for Thomas Ewing, individual treatises were no longer sold, but only the collected edition. Now I'm not so sure.

"title page"
for my new book

My new book has the title page for a 1776 edition of Memory printed for James Hoey, but contains both the text of Whist and Memory, recalling a bibliographical problem I discuss in the essay "What's in a Name?"  The new book is an excerpt of James Hoey's 1776 edition  of The Polite Gamester. It is important to note that it is the same setting of type, but contains a number of surprises that will become more understandable if we first look at the larger work.

As I wrote in the essay "Every Cancel Tells a Story, Don't It:? (part 1)" Hoey's Polite Gamester is a reissue of  an earlier edition printed for T. Ewing, 1772. When Ewing died in 1775 or 1776, Hoey must have acquired his stock of unsold copies of Polite Gamester, canceled both the overall title and the section titles, and published the book as his own.

The 1776 Polite Gamester collates 12o: π1 A4 B-C12 D12(±D6,D11) E12(±E9) F12 G12(±G3) H12(±H5,12) I-K12 (K12+1) = 114 leaves. The pagination is [10] [1] 2-58 [59-61] 62-68 [69-71] 72-88 [89-91] 92-123 [124-7] 128-151 [152-5] 156-66 [167-71] 172-217 [218] = 288 pages. The oddities were become clearer if we review the contents:

π1 [2] cancel collected title page for The Polite Gamester
(verso blank)
A1-A4 [8] collected table of contents (A4v blank)
B1-D5 [1] 2-58 text of Whist
D6 59-60 cancel section title for Memory (verso blank)
D7-D10 [61] 62-68 text of Memory
D11 [69-70] cancel section title for Quadrille (verso blank)
D12-E8 [71] 72-88 text of Quadrille
E9 [89-90] cancel section title for Backgammon (verso blank)
E10-G2 [91] 92-123 [124] text of Backgammon
G3 [125-6] cancel section title for Piquet (verso blank)
G4-H4 [127] 128-151 [152] text of Piquet
H5 [153-4] cancel section title for Chess (verso blank)
H6-H11 [155] 156-166 text of Chess
H12 [167-8] cancel section title for Doctrine of Chances
I1-K12+1 [169-71] 172-217 [218] text of Doctrine of Chances

What stands out is that Whist does not have a section title at all.

With that behind us, it is time to look at my new book. The book collates 12o: π1 A1 B-C12 D12(-D6,11,12) = 35 leaves. The pagination is [4] [1] 2-58 [61] 62-68 = 70 pages. Note the three deleted leaves in gathering D and the break in pagination at pages 59-60. The contents will explain what happened:

Signature Reference Page Reference Contents
π1 [2] cancel section title for Memory (verso blank)
A1 [2] (partial) table of contents for Whist
B1-D5 [1] 2-58 text of Whist
D7-D10 [61] 62-68 text of Memory

In the absence of a section title for Whist, the section title for Memory (originally unnumbered page 59) was placed at the front of the volume. As you can see below the table of contents have been truncated to refer only to the treatise on whist.

A1v: truncated table of contents
B1r: text of Whist begins
Compare the table of contents with its appearance in the 1776 Polite Gamester, below:

A1v: Whist table of contents
A2r: Whist contents continue
Note that the table of contents for whist continue for two lines onto A2r and then continue on to quadrille and backgammon. My volume has a slightly incomplete table of contents for Whist. Curiously there is no table of contents for Memory at all—see the top of A2r which reads "CHAP XIX. Contained in the Artificial Memory."

So the structure of my book is clear. π1 is the Hoey's cancel section title for Memory. [Aside: I was tempted to write π1 (=D6), but that is not correct—D6 as printed was Ewing's section title for Memory.] The table of contents, originally A4 was reduced to the single leaf A1 to omit references to the other treatises. As for the deleted leave, D6 and D11 were printed as Ewing section titles and D12 was the beginning of the quadrille text.

Now that the structure of my new book is clear, the question is whether it was issued by Hoey in this form. If so, we have an unrecorded work, Whist and Memory issued as a volume apart from The Polite Gamester. Perhaps Hoey broke up some copies of The Polite Gamester that he acquired from Ewing and sold the treatises individually. Perhaps Ewing issued not only The Polite Gamester in 1772, but Whist and Memory separately as well. In that case Hoey could have acquired some unsold stock and cancelled the title.

Another explanation is that a purchaser of the 1776 Polite Gamester was interested only in the game of whist and when he had the book bound, he instructed his binder to discard (or bind separately) all of the other treatisew. The bibliographer's mantra says to examine as many copies as possible. Here, mine is the only copy, and unless I'm able to find some contemporary newspaper advertisements, we'll never know for sure how it was issued.

In London, Memory was merged into Whist in the "sixth" edition of 1746 as I discuss in the essay "The First Osborne Hoyles." In Dublin, the two were sold separately until the 1750s when, judging from the copies I have seen, they were always sold together. Until I acquired this book, I thought that the last time these two were sold apart from The Polite Gamester was in 1762, a combined volume of Whist.D.6 and Memory.D.4. My new book suggests the possibility that the two were sold together again in 1772 and 1776.

Perhaps this essay will help you appreciate the difficulties of doing a bibliography of Hoyle!