"I THOUGHT I HAD RATHER BE IN THE WILDERNESS WITH MY GUN AND DOGS": FIRST EDITION OF THIS NARRATIVE OF DAVEY CROCKETT'S NORTHERN TOUR INCLUDING BALTIMORE, PHILADELPHIA, NEW YORK, AND BOSTON, 1835
CROCKETT, David. An Account of Col. Crockett's Tour to the North and Down East. Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1835. Octavo, original brown cloth, mounted spine label. Housed in a custom half morocco slipcase. $1800.
First edition of Davey Crockett's second autobiography intended to appeal to Western voters and encourage them to back William Henry Harrison in the 1836 presidential election, with frontispiece portrait, in original cloth.
"Davy [Crockett]'s second autobiographical work, 'The Tour,' was a Whig campaign device. This break with the Democrats made him an important person and a valuable asset to the Whigs. For he was a real coonskin Democrat, a native Tennessean, and an authentic Westerner sent to Congress on the Jackson ticket but at bitter odds with Old Hickory. Clever Whig politicians began to exploit his eccentricities, his canebrake waggery, and his anti-Jackson spleen in order to big for the western vote. Thus, the Davy Crockett myth was created in Washington for partisan purposes… The Whigs decided to put Davy on tour as a campaign stunt; and he seems never to have realized how grossly he was exploited. 'The Tour' was probably written by Augustin S. Clayton, a Georgia Congressman, but doubtless under Davy's eye an with Davy's help. In any case, 'The Tour' was used as a Whig campaign document" (Quarterly Review). The mythmaking is evident in the text: "I had braved the lonely forests of the West; I had shouldered the warrior's rifle in the far South; but the North and the East I had never seen. I seemed to like members of Congress who came from these parts, and wished to know what kind of constituents they had." Curiously, the work mixes the narrator's voice—that of an articulate, fairly civilized politician—with an introduction penned in a rougher style. The latter would come to be associated with many of Crockett's most popular writings ("Some persons tickle up their fancies to the scribbling point, and then their pen goes like a fiddler's elbow. I like real life, that makes a book jump out of the press like a new dollar from a mint-hopper. Some likes to use up the big I's, and write all about themselves; and I reckon it isn't easy to quit that, particularly when one is uncommon hard pushed to come out a second time"). Howes also supports a secondary authorship: "Has been ascribed to his friend, Augustin S. Clayton, of Georgia" (Howes C896). Sabin 17565.
Faint marginal dampstain, light foxing to interior, a bit of wear, staining, and toning to cloth. A very good copy.