SMITH, William (1728-1793)
The History of the Province of New-York, from the First Discovery to the Year M.DCC.XXXII. to which is annexed, A Description of the Country, with a Short Account of the Inhabitants, Their Trade, Religious and Political State, and the Constitution of the Courts of Justice in that Colony
London: Printed for Thomas Wilcox, 1757. Quarto. xii, 255pp. plus folding double-page plate.
Contemporary calf, recased, preserving the original boards and gilt spine label. Minor edge wear. Minor foxing.
Presentation copy of the first history of New York.
Presentation copy, inscribed "Abrm: Keteltas's the gift of the Author" on the titlepage in Smith's hand. This is the first edition of the first history of New York, based largely on the works of Charlevoix and Colden's History of the Five Nations.... Smith also drew from the journals of the Assembly and the Legislative Council. He was a graduate of Yale who became a distinguished New York lawyer and eventually justice of the province. Smith inscribed this copy to a fellow Yale graduate, Abraham Keteltas (1732-1798) who married the author's daughter, Sarah. Keteltas adds his red ink ownership stamp to the titlepage. Notes in the hand of Caroline Keteltas, granddaughter of Abraham Keteltas, all circa 1839, can be found on several leaves, providing a personal provenance for the book between the Smiths and the Keteltas family. In addition, there is a newspaper clipping of a poem by James Smith, brother of the author, on the verso of the last leaf of the Dedication; and an armorial bookplate of Abraham L. Smith pasted at the conclusion of the preface. A Loyalist during the Revolution, Smith moved to Canada at the war's conclusion, and there became a chief justice. This history covers the period up to 1736. Smith wrote a continuation which remained in manuscript form until it was published by the New-York Historical Society in 1826. "Within the period subsequent to the English Revolution, Smith is still without a successful rival. This work ranks with Stith's Virginia and Hutchinson's Massachusetts, as one of the worthiest examples of historical literature produced in later colonial times" - Larned. A foundation New York item, inscribed by the author to his son-in-law.
Church 1023; Howes S703 "b"; Larned 1109; Sabin 84566; Streeter Sale 871.