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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Offering of the Day: The History of the District of Maine



 The History of the District of Maine 
James Sullivan (1744-1808) - Osgood Carleton (1741-1816).
$2800


Boston: I. Thomas and E.T. Andrews, 1795., 1795. 8vo., (8 x 5 inches). Fine engraved map of 
Maine by Osgood Carleton (20 x 16 2/8 inches to the neat-line) with an inset of "those parts of the Country most famous for being harrased by the Indians" (lacking first blank, some occasionally heavy spotting, a bit browned, map mounted separately). Contemporary tree sheep the smooth spine ruled in six panels, red morocco lettering-piece in the second (hinges weak, worn with minor loss at the head a foot of the spine). Provenance: Contemporary ownership inscription dated Boston December 25th, 1795 on the front free endpaper; modern library label of Eleanor Houston Smith and Lawrence M.C. Smith on the front paste-down. First edition, of the first history of Maine, published 25 years before the district achieved statehood, and containing Osgood Carleton's early separate map of Maine, the first map of Maine that had any claim to completeness and accuracy, with greater detail than the near contemporary maps published by Matthew Carey and Scott for their atlases. Carleton compiled a number of maps of Massachusetts and Maine, and after the Revolutionary War he established a school of mathematics, surveying and navigation. The "American Navigator" of 1801 is his most celebrated publication. "The History of the district of Maine, involves a great variety of facts, measures, and events, which tend to evince the utter impracticability of establishing a government in the principles of the feudal law, or in an hereditary authority, over any other than a conquered people. It also exhibits in a strong point of view, the great calamities, and insupportable misfortunes, which necessarily result from a relaxed, and unsettled state of civil government." (page v of dedication). Sullivan was a successful lawyer, politician and statesman in Massachusetts and the district of Maine throughout his adult life and by1788 he had become attorney general for Massachusetts, a post which he held until 1807 when he became Governor of the state. In 1796 he was a U.S. agent representing the nation before the international commission established to determine the boundary between Maine and Canada. He was an incorporator of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1780 and a founder of the Massachusetts Historical Society (James M. Banner, Jr. for ANB). Evans 29589; Howes S1122; Sabin 93499. Catalogued by Kate Hunter at Arader Galleries.  



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