The book was found in the attic of a priest's manse in Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1980.
Fyvie is located on the River Ythan and has a magnificent castle which is managed by the National Trust for Scotland. Also found at this location was this delightful ballad about the ill-fated romance between Agnes Smith (the daughter of the Miller of Tifty) and Andrew Lammie (the trumpeter at Fyvie Castle) called "Mill o' Tifty's Annie".
The book is in two parts, the first, "Ascanius: or, the Young Adventurer" containing 112 pages; and the second, "Journal of the Miraculous Escape of the Young Chevalier" containing 114 pages (last two are missing and contain the rest of the Ballad of Jemmy Dawson). Book I is attributed to Ralph Griffiths and Book II to John Burton. It is 17cm x 10.5 cm.
There are now twenty copies in the collection and more can be found in the Ascanius Blog. We have versions of the book printed by Martin in 1804, Ogle of Edinburgh in 1812 and another of 1818, an Ogle, Allardice and Thomson of 1818, three almost identical 1890 versions (one has green covers the other two red) all printed by Houlston and Sons the first sold by W.S. Sime, two French first editions from Geneva and Lille and Lyon both printed in 1747, first editions of Smith (published in December 1746) and Johnston also dated 1746 but more likely published in April 1747. Our latest acquisitions are published by T. Brown in 1802, Paisley - Weir & McLean in 1769, two Cupar versions printed for R.Tullis in 1821,
a Khull and Blackie
from 1822, and a George and Robert King 1843 edition.
Sir Walter Scott had a copy of Ascanius accidentally returned to him as noted in his letter to JOHN WILSON CROKER, M.P., KENSINGTON, LONDON dated April 1, 1831. In fact, according to the catalogue of the library at Abbotsford, he had four of his own. Probably a Johnston (1747), a Paisley (1769) and two of the three French translations.