Second British edition. Two volumes. 8vo. Penn family copy. The bookplate of Lady Juliana Penn, the daughter-in-law of the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn, to the front pastedown of each volume. Handsomely bound in contemporary full tan calf. The spines with five raised bands, compartments decorated in gilt and with contrasting red and green gilt morocco title/volume labels. Lacking the folding map (as often). A very good set, the bindings square and secure with cracking to the joints, chipping and loss to the spine ends and wear to the corners. The contents with a further early nineteenth-century ink inscription to the front free endpaper of each volume, the corner of pp.277/278 in volume two torn away (affecting the first couple of lines of text) but still present (and thus with no loss to the text), toning to the edges of the preliminary pages and the very occasional contemporary pen line highlighting a passage to page margins are otherwise in very good order and clean throughout.
A superb association copy of this "first American history of the whole country" (Howes). William Douglass (c.1691-1752) was a Scottish physician living in Boston, who wrote pamphlets on medicine, economics and politics. His 'Summary' came to form the first history of America, as a whole, written by a resident American, detailing its component parts, their social and economic conditions and potential, politics, and geographical features. Well-regarded by contemporaries, John Huske, in his 'Present State of North America' (1755), wrote: "There is not one Work yet published to the World in our Language that in any Degree deserves the Title of a History of North America, but Smith's 'History Of Virgina', and Douglass's 'Summary'. And this last is only valuable for being the best Collection of facts in general, for a future Historian, that was ever made or published." First published in Boston, issued in parts between 1747-1753, its completion was interrupted by Douglass' death during the smallpox epidemic of 1752. A key reference text for many of the leading figures in revolutionary-era politics, this second British edition of 1760 was also notably that found in the library of Thomas Jefferson. The present set comes from the library of the Penn family, founders and proprietors of Pennsylvania. Lady Juliana Penn (1729-1801), whose bookplates adorn each volume, was the wife of Thomas Penn (1702-1775), the second son of William Penn, the colony's founder, and himself the third Chief Proprietor of Pennsylvania (1746-1775). Particularly in his later years, Juliana assisted her husband in the administration of the colony, and corresponded with figures including John Adams after the events of the American Revolutionary War complicated her family's fortunes. Rejecting his father's Quaker beliefs, Thomas Penn was a somewhat controlling leader of the colony, setting himself against both the Pennsylvanian Quaker establishment and the local Native American tribes. Indeed, interestingly, in the present work, in the chapter concerning Pennsylvania (which details the history and activities of the Penns at length) there is a small line in old ink highlighting a sentence pertaining to Native American land rights in the colony: "The Six nations say that the Delaware and Sesquahana [sic] Indians were conquered by them, and therefore have no right to dispose of lands" (vol.2 p.315). Thomas would have certainly had an interest in such matters, for after arriving in 1732, he had sought to purchase some of the lands at the outskirts of Pennsylvania colony, meeting with resistance from local chiefs. Following negotiations, he eventually succeeded in achieving his controversial "Walking Purchase" of 1737, which ratified his father's 1686 deed, giving the Penns the land west of the Delaware River to the extent that a man could walk in a day and a half. Instructing his men to walk at an unusually fast pace, the Indians felt cheated; his actions adding to a wider picture of ill-treatment of the native population under his proprietorship. He also had a number of notable disagreements with Benjamin Franklin regarding issues of taxation and governance, with Franklin on one occasion having stated that he had a "thorough Contempt for him than I ever before felt for any Man living -- a Contempt that I cannot express in Words". An appealing set of a work of major importance in the writing of American history, owned by one of the families whose lives formed an important part of its story.
Stock code: 20113