“A CORNERSTONE OF COLONIAL HISTORY”: ASSOCIATION FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST HISTORY OF NEW YORK, 1757
SMITH, William. The History of the Province of New-York, from the First Discovery to the Year M.DCC.XXXII. London: Thomas Wilcox, 1757. Quarto, 19th-century full crushed red morocco, rebacked with original ornately gilt-tooled spine laid down, raised bands, all edges gilt. $6500.
First edition of “the first and classic history of New York” (Streeter), complete with copper-engraved folding frontispiece plate of Oswego (Lake Ontario) in 1755-the copy of western explorer Henry Atkinson. Finely bound by Riviere and Son.
William Smith, a Loyalist who graduated from Yale in 1745, became the justice of the province of New York, only to leave the country after the Revolution to become the chief justice of lower Canada. Smith based his landmark work, a cornerstone of colonial history, “chiefly on the Provincial Laws, the Minutes of the Council, the Journals of the General Assembly and other government records… The history proper covers pp. 1-180, while a description of the province, geographical, political, etc., forms pp. 181-255” (Sabin 84566). Howes S703. Streeter 871. Bookplate. Early ownership signature, at top of title page, of Henry Atkinson; later pencil notations on front free endpaper identify him as the Henry Atkinson who was an officer in the War of 1812 and an important figure in the history of western exploration, having participated in numerous expeditions-“His name is inseparably connected with the earlier period of the conquest of the frontier, and the part he bore is equaled in importance by that of no contemporary with the possible exception of William Clark” (DAB). Some early manuscript corrections.
Only occasional light foxing; light rubbing and wear to binding. A lovely copy of this important history.