Stuart of Bute Tartan  

Bestselling book of the 18th and 19th centuries


Origin of the book

Ascanius; or, the Young Adventurer   Where it was found

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-one 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. Finally, we have a 1974 copy from the “Flowering of the Novel” series.

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.

Inside cover

Archibald Constable & Co, Edinburgh, Scotland   by Archibald Constable & Co.

Although missing any information regarding the publisher or date the first page shows other titles available from Archibald Constable & Co. Archibald Constable was a publisher in Edinburgh, Scotland at the beginning of the 19th century. Among the books listed are:

"Manual of Mineralogy" by Robert Jameson a professor at the University of Edinburgh (tutor of Charles Darwin) which was published in 1821.

"General View of the Structure, Functions and Classifications of Animals" by John Fleming which was published in 1822.

"The Conchology of Great Britain and Ireland" by Thomas Brown who was a fellow of the Linnaean Society.

"Elements of Zoology; an Introduction to the Natural History of the Animal Kingdom" also by Thomas Brown (1818).

"An Introduction to Merchandize" by Robert Hamilton a professor at Marischal College, Aberdeen which was published in 1777/99.

A similar list is found in The Edinburgh review: or critical journal, Volume 31 for Dec. 1818 - March 1819.

Page 12

Battle of Prestonpans  

Battle of Prestonpans

21st September 1745

Drawn by D. Allan

Vide Page 12

Engraved by R. Scott

Battle of Prestonpans

Described on pages 10 to 13 of Ascanius.

Page 40

Battle of Falkirk  

Battle of Falkirk

17th January 1746


Described on pages 39 to 45 of Ascanius.

Page 76

Muster at Culloden  

Muster at the Battle of Culloden


Described on pages 76 to 82 of Ascanius.

Page 77

Plan of the Battle of Culloden  

Plan of the Battle of Culloden


Described on pages 76 to 82 of Ascanius.

Second Layout

Layout of the Battle of Culloden   Layout of the Battle of Culloden


Described on pages 76 to 82 of Ascanius.

Third Layout

Layout of the Battle of Culloden   Layout of the Battle of Culloden


Described on pages 76 to 82 of Ascanius.

Page 118

I am your Prince   I am your Prince


Drawn by A. Carse

Page 118

Engraved by R. Scott

meeting DONALD McLEOD after

the Battle of Culloden

Page 154

Parting of Flora with Ascanius   Ascanius parting with Flora MacDonald



W. Allan Dec.

J. Thomson Sculp.

See Page 154

Parting of Flora with Ascanius


About the book