Salem, Massachusetts: Printed by Thomas C. Cushing for Thomas and Andrews, No. 45 Newbury-Street, Boston, 1795. Third Edition. Leather-bound. 3rd edition. 2 vol. Matching, half calf over mottled marbled boards. Recent touch-up by a conservator, with new, sympthetic spine labels of brick red, with gilt lettering. 478 pp. plus 10-p. index (Volume I); and 452pp., (Volume II). Age-tanned with a few isolated pages with spotting (14 pp. so affected in Vol. I & 18 pp. and 15 pp. in Vol. II (text readable), but generally clean). (Howes H-853; Evans 28808, -9; Sabin 34081, -2). Very Good. Item #81909
Hutchinson was a politically polarizing loyalist who came to be identified by John Adams and Samuel Adams as a proponent of hated British taxes, despite his initial opposition to Parliamentary tax laws directed at the colonies. He was blamed by Lord North (the British Prime Minister at the time) for being a significant contributor to the tensions that led the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. (Courtesy Wikipedia) Publisher: Thomas C Cushing for Thomas and Andrews City: Presents the history of the state of Massachusetts spanning from its first settlement until 1750, where the colony had booming industry and its own currency.
Text printed on thick, laid bond, with only occasional spotting, two very small margin-tears (pp. 224 and 463 in Volume 1) and about twenty-eight (total) pages with foxing in Volume 2, but with text entirely readable without much effort. Otherwise clean copy. Fascinating section on Witchcraft (pp. 22-64). Text to Volume 1, 429 pp., followed by a 48 pp. Appendix consisting of 21 parts, some of which comprise: royal letters and decrees; proposals about voting rights; an argument against Democracy ("Democracy I do not conceyve that ever God did ordeyne as a fit government eyther for church or commonwealth. If the people be governors, who shall be governed?..." -- No. III, Mr. John Cotton, to Lord Say); a Commission for Regulating Plantations; General Courts Address; a list of the Theses of the first Class of Graduates at Harvard College in 1651; a copy of the Determination of Arbitrators for Settling the Line Between New-Haven and the Dutch, in 1650; a Petition to the Parliament concerning trade in the Carribean; Letter to Oliver Cromwell from the General Court of Massachusetts; an Address to Mr. Cromwell; a Letter from the Government of the Colony of Rhode Island, concerning the Quakers, etc. etc. Appendix followed by an 8 pp. index.
Text to Volume 2, 403 pp. plus 44 pp. Appendix, consisting of two parts: 1) "A Summary of the Affairs of the Colony of New Plymouth..." and 2) a 24 pp. "Examination of Mrs. Ann Hutchinson, at the court at Newtown". Hutchinson (1591-1643) was a gifted spiritual leader who preached that entrance into heaven was not dependent upon sin, but upon one's behavior, and that anyone could directly petition God. An early feminist, she clashed with and threatened the foundational tenets of the Puritan faith.
It was generally believed that Hutchinson wrote these two volumes, in between the responsibilities of a very busy public life, and several noteworthy figures think he rushed the manuscript to the printer without requisite editing, leaving serious gaps such as noting important historical events. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote: "A duller book never came from the brain of mortal". Despite these grave shortcomings (see Larned, 961) the book is considered highly important, if only for the fact that it contains the text of certain documents and letters which have since perished; the presence of these copies within the two volumes perhaps ameliorates any hasty or perforated scholarship.
NOTE: There DOES EXIST a scarce third volume, published fifty years after Thomas Hutchinson's death and edited by his grandson; as of this date of cataloguing this two volume set consisting of Vols. I & 2, this THIRD VOLUME, is available as a separate inventory item. It was said to have only been issued in a print run of 500 copies.
Of the author and this work, J. N. Larned, in his classic reference work The Literature of American History, writes: 'He had access to many documents which have since perished. The third volume has the most interest. Exiled with his fortune confiscated, his sons ruined, his daughters dying broken-hearted, he lived a pensioner until he sank into his welcome grave.’- Larned.
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