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THE NORTH-AMERICAN'S CALENDAR AND GENTLEMEN - Stearns, Samuel - 1772. [1214910]
Boston: Printed and Sold by Edes & Gill, and T. & J. Fleet, 1772. - [24]pp., plus eight blanks interleaved. Dbd. Later black morocco binder. Leaves individually encased in bound plastic cells. Titlepage slightly chipped and with several tears. Ownership inscription at head of title. Several stab holes at left margin of each leaf. Text tanned, with scattered foxing and moderate edge wear. Interleaved blanks with copious manuscript annotations. Good plus. A unique and intriguing copy of Samuel Stearns' NORTH- AMERICAN'S CALENDAR for 1773. Stearns was an astronomer and physician who published a yearly almanac under several different names while he lived in Paxton., Ma., and New York from 1771 to 1784, before he was jailed for several years because of his Tory sympathies. This particular edition is already notable for the attribution of its three engravings to Paul Revere by Clarence Brigham, though one of these actually first appeared in a much earlier 1716 Massachusetts imprint, another almanac by Thomas Robie. The outstanding feature of this copy, however, is the presence of an interleaved manuscript diary on eight sheets by a contemporary owner on a wide variety of subjects and current events in Boston in 1773. The abiding concern is the documentation of fires that break out in the city, and from this interest we can identify the writer as James Richardson. Throughout the writer makes many fire entries, such as this for May 29: "The Store Ship in the Harbour took fire and burnt to the water which occasion'd a great consternation from an apprehension of a great quantity of powder on board and the flight of the people to the field & remote places for safety, but happily there was no explosion." In an earlier entry on March 23, he writes: "Adjournment of annual Town meeting. Was chose a Warden, but excus'd." The report of this meeting published several days later on March 29 in the Boston Gazette and County Journal notes that, "At the above Adjournment, Mr. James Richardson having excused himself from the office of Fire Ward, the unanimous thanks of the Town were voted him for his faithful Service in that Office several Years past." Richardson carefully tracks events in Boston as well as bits of information and news from the American colonies as a whole that interest him. On one leaf, he lists the notaries public appointed in New England by the General Assembly for that year and tallies the known number of newspapers printed in North America. He is particularly interested in ship activity in Boston Harbor and in exploratory voyages. In a longer entry for September 16, the writer notes that, "The Hon. Hugh Finlay Esq., one of his Majesty's Council of Quebec & Surveyor General of Post Roads in N. America set out from that city attended by Mr. Launiere an Indian Interpreter & four indians to steer a direct course thro' the woods from Satigan in that province to Fort Halifax in this province in order to ascertain the distance & estimate the expense of opening a Post Road." In another note from December 16, he serenely records news of the Boston Tea Party: "Tea from England with a duty on it between 3 & 400 Chests (on board the captains Hall, Bruce, Coffin) was destroy'd between 6 & 9 o'clock P.M. by being thrown overboard." While Richardson was not present at the Tea Party, he seems to have been active in Patriot circles, and shown by his presence at the critical Town Meeting of March, 1773, and his notes of correspondence in his annotations. Active as a merchant, he notes voyages leaving and arriving, including Israel Putnam's departure, in early 1773, to explore the Mississippi. This edition of Stearns' almanac is already quite rare, with ESTC recording copies in only five institutions: American Antiquarian Society, Harvard, Indiana, the Huntington, and the Wellcome Institute in London. The presence of John Richardson's notes make this copy a unique survival and a potentially excellent resource for research. EVANS 12566. DRAKE 3226. ESTC W22740. O'NEAL, EARLY AMERICAN ALMANACS 712. REILLY 1837. BRI
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2016-09-30           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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