Edward GIBBON (1737-1794). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire … a new edition [… Notes to the six last volumes]. Basle: printed for [vols.I-II] or by [vols.III-XII + ‘Notes’] J.J. Tourneisen, 1787-1788-1789. 13 volumes [text: 1-12; notes: 13], octavo (8 x 5 inches; 203 x 127mm)). Early manuscript page of biographical notes at the front of vol.I. (Missing the two folding engraved maps but Norton notes that the ‘maps seem to have been issued separately at the end’, and it looks like neither map was ever included in this set, some spotting, neat old repairs to the title and following six leaves at the front of volume six with some minor loss). Contemporary marbled leather, the flat spines decorated in gilt with contrasting leather labels, later gilt monogram to the center of each upper cover (see images for condition: some splits, leather dry, spines chipped, some damage to extremities, spines and labels). Provenance: Dr. A.M. Downe (armorial bookplate, possibly the monogram on the upper covers).
First Basle edition: one of two octavo editions authorized by Gibbon before he had completed the final three volumes of the initial quarto edition published in London in 1788. This first Basle edition was issued between 1787-1789, with Volumes I-VI containing notes at the end of each volume, and Volume XIII containing combined notes for Volumes VII-XII. Regarding both editions, Gibbon wrote to his original London publisher Thomas Cadell in 1789, "I am both glad and sorry to inform you that the type is neat, the paper tolerable, and the text wonderfully correct.".
Pagination: Vol 1 434 pages; Vol 2 474pages; Vol 3 403 pages ; Vol 4 431 pages; Vol 5 426 pages; Vol 6 411 pages; Vol 7 370 pages; Vol 8 424 pages; Vol 9 399 pages; Vol 10 378 pages; Vol 11 402 pages; Vol 12 206 + [index 130]; Notes Vol 455 pages.