Rare Book Monthly
Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2004 Issue
Early Americana From David Lesser<br>Fine Antiquarian Books
Item 158 was printed in Washington in 1841, and it dealt with a New York court decision, but it may be of greatest interest to collectors of Canadiana. It is the Review of the Opinion of Judge Gowan, of the Supreme Court of the State of New-York, in the Case of Alexander McLeod. By a Citizen of New York (the "citizen"was evidently Daniel Tallmadge). In 1837, the British had attacked an American steamship in the Niagara River, and sent it over the Falls. One American was killed. Not that there wasn't any reason. The Caroline was helping a small band of rebels in the already hopeless Rebellion of 1837, where some Canadians attempted to throw out the British. McLeod would later cross over the border to New York, stop at a tavern, and foolishly start boasting of how he had participated in the sinking of the Caroline. New York arrested him and put him on trial for murder. It created an international incident. The British said McLeod could not be personally tried for his actions as he was acting under their orders. The U.S. agreed, but said it did not have the power to interfere with the New York courts. Fortunately, McLeod was acquitted, and a crisis avoided. $275.
At one time, the "Republican" (today's Democratic) party had a monopoly on presidential politics. In the hotly contested 1824 election, both Jackson and Quincy Adams were members of the same party. However, Jackson stirred such antagonism among his opponents that the party would split. The faction in power, Jackson's, would become known as the "Democratic-Republicans"(today's Democratic party), their opponents the "National Republicans." The National Republicans would become the Whigs, and they would be a major force in the 1840s, until the slavery issue tore them apart. Here are the proceedings from their first convention: Journal of the National Republican Convention, which Assembled in the City of Baltimore, Dec. 12, 1831.... The party would nominate Henry Clay for president, as they would again twelve years later. Both times he lost. However, in their brief existence, the Whigs did give us four of our most beloved presidents: William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Millard Fillmore. Why did this party disappear? Item 182. $250.
Speaking of Zachary Taylor, and who could forget Old Rough and Ready, supporters of Lewis Cass had some nasty words for the General who campaigned on saying as little as possible. In Taylor Whigery Exposed. Letter from the Hon. Edmund Burke (1848), it is said of Taylor that he was the candidate of the Whigs, "Who have sympathized with the public enemy, who have traitorously given him 'aid and comfort,' who have voted to disgrace their country in Congress..." Wow. Swift Boat Vets for Cass. Evidently treason was acceptable back then, as Taylor swept to victory anyway. Item 46. $175.
David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books may be found online at www.lesserbooks.com and reached by phone at 203-389-8111.