"THE SOUTHERN STATES HAD RIGHTFULLY THE POWER TO WITHDRAW": FIRST EDITION OF JEFFERSON DAVIS' HISTORY OF THE CONFEDERACY
DAVIS, Jefferson. The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. New York: D. Appleton, 1881. Two volumes. Thick octavo, original three-quarter brown morocco, raised bands, marbled boards, endpapers and edges. $2800.
First edition of Jefferson Davis' seminal history of the Confederacy, one of the most important works on the Civil War written by one of the conflict's primary figures, and one of the major arguments for the Constitutional basis of the war, with 18 maps (14 folding) and 19 plates, including stipple-engraved portraits of Davis, members of the presidential staff, General Lee and others, a handsome copy in publisher's original three-quarter morocco.
"As president of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis directed the new nation's mighty struggle for independence… Born on the Kentucky frontier in the first decade of the 19th century, he witnessed and participated in the epochal transformation of the United States from fledgling country to a strong nation spanning the continent… His views, which he never recanted, were enshrined in his Rise and Fall, which was published in 1881" (Cooper, Jefferson Davis, xvii-xxi). Rise and Fall was Davis' "magnum opus… This was not a conventional memoir that tells the story of the subject's life. Instead, Rise and Fall was in large part a massive, legalistic, dense and impersonal defense of state's rights, secession, and Southern independence" (Swanson, 363). This is "probably the most scholarly recital of the 'states rights' arguments, since it was written by the leader of the movement after mature reflection" (Channing, 2156). "Every impartial reader must recognize the ability with which Davis' history is composed… and the value which it possesses as the authentic commentary on the most momentous episode in the history of the United States" (Allibone Supplement I:461). Each volume with four rear pages of publisher's advertisements. Containing 18 maps (14 folding) and 19 plates, including engraved portraits of Davis, members of the presidential staff, General Lee and others. Howes D120. In Tall Cotton 34. Nevins II:51.
Preliminary leaves with a bit of light cleaning, text with light scattered foxing; only very minor wear to publisher's morocco. A near-fine copy.