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New Britain. A Narrative of a Journey ... to a Country so called by its inhabitants, discovered in the vast Plain of the Missouri, in North America, and inhabited by the People of British Origin, who live under an equitable System of Society, productive of peculiar Independence and Happiness
London: W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1820. 8vo. (8 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches). viii, 336pp. Uncut on two sides. Later half dark brown morocco over cloth covered boards, bound by Riviere & Son, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second and third, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut on two sides. A fantastical description of a Utopian community located in the American midwest. An interesting Utopian narrative, probably written under a pseudonym, describing an imaginary ideal state in the American West. The author tells how he heard from an Englishman of the name of Hebertson of a settlement of people of Scottish origin in the plains near the Missouri River. He determined to visit, and commenced his journey from New York on April 7, 1818, travelling through Illinois, across the Mississippi, and southwest until he reached New Britain. Here he remained for nine months before returning to write his narrative.Most of the text of the work imagines the utopian civilization of New Britain, said to be founded by refugees from the era of Henry VIII seeking religious freedom. After a difficult beginning, the colony had renounced its previous laws and founded a government based on reason. The democratic socialist society evolved into a land of villages populated by artisans and agricultural works, a sort of Jeffersonian ideal. New ideas and technology were obtained by sending spies into the outside world. The society existed without money or trade, with universal education, controlled population growth, and minimal government. Religion was limited to communal worship of a supreme spirit. The author, deeply impressed, returns to England to spread the good news.An interesting and rare American utopia, praised by Howgego as "pleasantly readable and has much of originality to commend it." Included in both the standard Americana and Utopian references, it is quite scarce in the market. Howes E118; Sabin 22299; Field 498; Bibliotheca Americana 3454; Eberstadt 103:97; Howgego, Imaginary Voyages and Invented worlds, E3; Bleiler, Science Fiction 657; Bleiler (1978), p.68; Negley 313; Penn State Utopia Catalogue, p.57; Sargent, p.18.
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books ]
Last Found On: 2015-10-11           Check availability:      ABAA    

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