“THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE ACCOUNT OF HER LIFE”: FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF ANNE GRANT’S MEMOIRS OF AN AMERICAN LADY, HER BIOGRAPHY OF MARGARITA SCHUYLER
(SCHUYLER, Margarita) [GRANT, Anne]. Memoirs of an American Lady: with Sketches of Manners and Scenery in America, as they existed previous to the Revolution. Boston: W. Wells, Thomas B. Wait, 1809. Two volumes in one. Octavo, later brown cloth, uncut. $650.
First American edition of this biography of colonial politician Margarita Schuyler, a source for information on colonial life in the Hudson Valley, with much on the region’s Indian tribes and political affairs.
Margarita Schuyler, the subject of this work, a "political and military adviser, was born in Albany, New York, the daughter of Johannes Schuyler, a soldier and diplomat, and Elizabeth Staats Wendell. Her paternal grandfather had settled north of Albany on the Hudson River during the seventeenth century, and the family soon began to play an important role in colonial politics. One of Margarita's uncles was acting governor of New York, and her father served as British envoy to Canada and mayor of Albany. Margarita, her father's favorite child, spent her childhood studying politics, military tactics, and Indian affairs under his tutelage. In 1729 she married her cousin Philip Schuyler, a soldier and heir to the Schuyler estate, 'The Flatts,' which was situated on the Hudson between Troy and Albany, New York. Once married, Schuyler combined her zeal for politics with entertaining and made the Flatts the center of the social and political life of the region. Schuyler hosted 'every officer of distinction throughout North America' and advised them on the most effective methods in frontier warfare. Under the influence of her father, Schuyler became a proponent of anti-French military schemes, discussing with military leaders the most effective means of transportation in the isolated North as well as the appropriate uniforms and tactics for soldiers. While her husband was on active duty during the French and Indian Wars, Schuyler housed more than 100 men, including a company of British soldiers, and ran a military hospital at the Flatts. As an expert on Indian tribes in northern New York, Schuyler's value to political and military authorities, traders, and merchants was enhanced through her friendships with Indian leaders and her knowledge of many languages. She was fluent in Mohawk, could understand several other Indian languages, and was proficient in English, Dutch, French, and German. Schuyler and her husband advocated and eventually secured the appointment of the first superintendent of Indian affairs in the region… The most comprehensive account of her life is in the sentimental Anne M. Grant, Memoirs of an American Lady" (ANB). With separate title pages for each volume (but bound as one). Memoirs of an American Lady was first published in London in 1808, a year before this first American edition. Sabin 28296. Howes G303. Owner signature excised from top of Volume I title page, leaving small ink mark beneath.
A bit of spotting to interior, a few tears to marginal edges, rear inner paper hinge starting, minor wear to spine ends. Extremely good condition.