This is the first edition of the first history of New York and includes the original engraved plate of Fort Oswego. Written by William Smith, the work is based on the works of Charlevoix, Cadwallader Colden's History of the Five Nations, and the journals of the Assembly and the Legislative Council. William Smith (1728-1793) was born in New York City, graduated from Yale University in 1845, and became a distinguished lawyer in New York. During the American Revolution, Smith declared himself a loyalist and was appointed as Chief Justice of New York in 1780. In 1786 Smith moved to Quebec in Canada and was appointed Chief Justice of Lower Canada, which he served until his death.
The engraved frontispiece depicts Fort Oswego, commanded by General Shirley during the French and Indian War, and an important frontier post for British traders in the 18th century. During the French and Indian War, this fort was captured and destroyed by the French in 1756. Engraved by James Mynde.
Quarto. 255 pp. Hardbound in full contemporary leather with gilt tooling on covers and spine.
References: Howes #S-703; Sabin #84566.
The view is a dark impression with light toning and soiling, a short tear at left, and several dampstains at bottom. The text has light toning, foxing and soiling. The title page has a dampstain at bottom left, light soiling, and a stamped number. The endpapers are stained. The front hinge is nearly perished except for an archival tape repair. The covers have bumped corners and a number of abrasions and the spine is cracking and chipped.