Jun 05, 2008 - Sale 2148

Sale 2148 - Lot 29

Estimate: $ 600 - $ 900
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION.) Murray, James. An Impartial History of the War in America, between Great Britain and the United States. Vol. I. 4 (of 6) portrait plates (Hancock, Washington, Samuel Adams, Montgomery), lacks plan of Boston and plates of Joseph Warren and Nathanael Greene. Volume I, only (of 3). [2], iv, 445 pages. 8vo, contemporary calf, worn; lacks front free endpaper, frontispiece loose with marginal tear, upper corner torn from title and reattached with thread, browned and stained throughout, dampstaining on endpapers, closed tear on KK2, hinges split; lengthy inscription by early owner Edmund Barnard on verso of frontispiece, 1816. Boston: Nathaniel Coverly and Robert Hodge, 1781

Additional Details

first american edition. Issued in parts amidst the privations of wartime and only very rarely seen as a complete set; the third volume was never even completed. The author was a sympathetic Englishman; Sabin writes that his "political principles were democratic in sentiment, and it is a little doubtful whether his history is 'impartial.'" His title was altered slightly for the American edition, changing "Great Britain and Her Colonies" to "Great Britain and the United States."

Evans describes the portraits as "rudely engraved" with "no resemblance to other portraits of the men they are intended to represent." The engraver, John Norman, was an Englishman who arrived in the United States just before the Revolution (see Sinclair Hamilton's Early American Book Illustrators, 117). This edition has been offered at auction only once since 1973--a partial set was sold last year. Howes rating of c ("quite rare"). Evans 17241, Howes M916, Sabin 34376.