1785 FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF VARLO’S A NEW SYSTEM OF HUSBANDRY: WITH THE OWNER SIGNATURE OF “THE FATHER OF THE AMERICAN NAVY” CAPTAIN JOHN BARRY
VARLO, Charles. A New System of Husbandry from Many Years Experience, With Tables Shewing the Expence and Profit of Each Crop… To Which Are Annexed a Few Hints Humbly Offered for the Perusal of the Legislators of America, Shewing How to Put a Stop to Runaway Servants. Philadelphia: Printed for the Author, 1785. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary full calf, burgundy morocco spine labels. $1600.
First American edition of this important text on husbandry and farming in 18th-century America, in contemporary binding. The copy belonging to Revolutionary War hero and “The Father of the American Navy” Captain John Barry, a listed subscriber, with his owner signature on page 137.
“The only American printing of Varlo’s farmer’s vade mecum, altered sufficiently from former editions to appeal to the American reader” (Felcone 282). It includes information on farming, climate, animal husbandry and a particularly interesting section on runaway servants. Varlo, a somewhat shady character, came to American after claiming he had purchased the third part of King Charles the First’s charter of New Albion. “Varlo remained in America one year, traveling along the coast from Boston to Virginia and prosecuting his claim to New Albion. Though his claim was not successful, his book was… The list of subscribers’ names is long and distinguished and includes George Washington, most of the governors, the president of Congress, and many of the leading figures of the day including William Livingston and many prominent residents of New Jersey” (Felcone 282). This work had several earlier English editions, with the earliest published in York in 1770; this is the first edition to include Hints. The number of pages of subscribers varies by copy; this copy has ten, the most pages known to exist. Howes V54. Sabin 98636. Evans 19338. With ink owner signature of Captain John Barry on Volume I, page 137, one of the original listed subscribers and a Revolutionary War hero. Known as “The Father of the American Navy,” Barry was the outfitter of the first ships of the Continental Navy, the first to capture a British war vessel at sea and over 20 other ships, a soldier on land at the Battles of Trenton and Princeton, the author of the Signal Book for inter-ship communication, and the captain of the Lexington, the Effingham, and the Raleigh and served as the commander of the USS United States until his death from asthma in 1803. Ink owner inscription and several ink owner signatures of Dr. Moses Gaylord, whose descendents helped develop his farmland into Yale-New Haven Hospital, only the fifth general hospital in the United States. Pencil notation to Volume II, page 54.
Folding table with a few closed tears and light foxing, expertly reattached. A few closed marginal tears, light foxing and staining, much less than usual. Fragments of Volume I spine label only, expected age-wear to contemporary calf. A handsome copy with an outstanding provenance.