“OUR HISTORY IS BUT A TRANSCRIPT OF HIS CLAIMS ON OUR GRATITUDE”: CONTEMPORARY COLLECTION OF FIVE EULOGIES FOR GEORGE WASHINGTON, 1800
AMES, Fisher; MINOT, George; PAINE, Robert Treat; STILLMAN, Samuel; PARISH, Elijah. Five Eulogies for George Washington, circa 1800 [sammelband]. Boston: Young & Minns, , et al. Octavo, period-style full sheep gilt, red morocco spine label; pp. 31, ; 24; 22, ; 26, ; 32. $1850.
First editions of four noted eulogies for the first President of the United States, with a second edition of a fifth, bound together in one volume.
Massachusetts statesman Fisher Ames (1758-1808) made some of the greatest speeches ever presented in Congress. "Fisher Ames stands out from other New England Federalists as a man of singularly pure and unselfish character, humble in spite of his great talents, zealous and active… His formal speeches were concise and pointed, well supplied though never overloaded with facts, and often reserved for the close of a debate when they could clear a confused issue. As an orator he had no equal in the generation between Patrick Henry and Henry Clay" (DAB). In his eulogy Ames connects Washington's professional history to that of the nation itself, calling the epoch of his presidency "the age of Washington" (page 30). Of the president's heroism in the Revolution, Ames declares: "When Washington heard the voice of his country in distress, his obedience was prompt… Our history is but a transcript of his claims on our gratitude" (page 9). George Richards Minot was a prominent Massachusetts jurist and a founding member of the Massachusetts Historical Society; his eulogy reflects Minot's lifelong dedication to the Revolutionary cause. Thomas Paine, A.M., author of the eulogy in this collection, changed his name in 1801 to that of his father, Robert Treat Paine, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, so as not to be confused with the "infidel" author of The Age of Reason. Samuel Stillman was Minister of the First Baptist Church in Boston. "A popular preacher, Stillman frequently gave eulogies for prominent persons… in 1799 he was invited to preach the eulogy in Boston for George Washington" (ANB). The final Oration is by the Reverend Elijah Parish, delivered at Byfield, Massachusetts on February 22, 1800, the designated day of national mourning for Washington. Bound with all half titles except for Ames' Oration. Minot's Eulogy is a second edition (stated on title page); all others are first editions. Sabin 1300; 49322; 58199; 91799; 58604. Ink signature of the original owner, Jeremiah Dummer, with his manuscript table of contents written in ink on the front flyleaf (in which he lists an additional six eulogies that are not present here).
Occasional spotting and foxing to text. A very good copy, beautifully rebound in period-style sheep gilt.