"THE GENIUS OF THE NATION, IN CASES OF WARFARE, INCLINES PARTICULARLY TO MARITIME OPERATIONS": THE FIRST HISTORY OF THE U.S. NAVY, 1813 FIRST EDITION
CLARK, Thomas. Sketches of the Naval History of the United States; from the Commencement of the Revolutionary War, to the Present Time. Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1813. Octavo, period-style full calf gilt, red morocco spine label, raised bands.
First edition, first issue, of the first history of the United States Navy, with frontispiece engraving by William Charles depicting the U.S.S. Constitution and H.M.S. Guerriere in action against each other, which resulted in an important early victory for the U.S. Navy during the War of 1812.
Prompted by the success of the infant Navy's frigates in action against their British counterparts during the early months of the War of 1812—such as the victory of the U.S.S. Constitution over the H.M.S. Guerriere as depicted in the frontispiece—renowned publisher Mathew Carey gathered documentation from many sources commencing with the Revolutionary War through the present day. He then hired Thomas Clark, a U.S. Topographical Engineer, to write the book from his outline. "The first half of the work contained a number of 'Considerations of the Efficient Naval Establishment'; the remainder of the text contained a straightforward chronological account of the United States Navy from 1775 to the date of publication, commencing with Massachusetts issuance of Letters of Marque and concluding with a review of those naval engagements that had taken place in the opening year of the War of 1812" (Edward Carter, American Neptune, July, 1966). Includes a list of vessels in active service as of May 1, 1813. A second issue appeared with a slightly altered title page but the same collation, dated 1814; an enlarged second edition appeared later that same year (1814). Sabin 13377. Howes C446.
Text mildly toned, with occasional foxing and spotting, with light expert cleaning to first few and last few leaves only. Binding fine and attractive.