More Americana From<br>Michael Brown Rare Books
Someone around 1816 was very concerned with immorality in the land as he bound together seven works touching on the subject. Some of the titles in this binding are, “God’s Revenge Against Gambling. Exemplified in the Miserable Lives and Untimely Deaths of a Number of Persons of Both Sexes” (try selling this in Las Vegas), “The Drunkard’s Looking Glass,” “God’s Revenge Against Adultery, Awfully Exemplified… by the Accomplished Dr. Theodore Wilson (Delaware,) for Seducing Mrs. Nancy Wiley, had his Brains Blown Out by her Husband,” and “God’s Revenge Against Murder; or the Drown’d Wife.” The compiler of this anthology obviously believed in a vengeful God. Item 273. $2,000.
These weren’t the only views attributed to God at this time. In fact, this one might even make you stop to think the next time someone cites God’s will as justification for denying another his rights. It’s by Iveson Brookes and the title is A Defence of Southern Slavery…In Which it is Moreover Shown that the Association of the White and Black Races in the Relation of Master and Slave is the Appointed order of God. Brookes was a South Carolina clergyman who used the Bible to defend the horrific institution of slavery. While I have not been able to verify this point, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the good reverend was white. Item 10. $250.
Item 3 is a circular headed, The great question of Negro Slavery is forcing itself upon the attention of the citizens… This 1835 work proposes a solution that still surprises me was not more seriously pursued. The author calls for the creation of a fund of $250 million to purchase and free every slave. Ultimately, the nation chose war to resolve the issue, and the cost was far, far greater. $2,500.
Up in northern New England there are many wonders of natural beauty. In 1848 William Oakes created a book featuring 16 drawings by Isaac Sprague of the White Mountains. There are scenes of the mountains, falls, Franconia Notch, Profile Rock and Profile Mountain. More recently (since 1850) Profile Rock has been known as the Old Man of the Mountain, thanks to a Nathaniel Hawthorne story. Last year, much of this symbol of New Hampshire tumbled to the ground. Item 176 is Scenery of the White Mountains. $1,750.
Item 25 is Ups and Downs of an Army Officer by Colonel George Armes. Armes served in the west for 16 years from 1866-1882, fighting, as Brown quotes from a 1940 Edward Eberstadt catalogue, “red men on his front, and red tape to his rear” (see Eberstadt 115-0095 in the Americana Exchange Database). “The quisquilious quibblings of the army bureaucracy are described with a minuteness…” Say what? Did Spiro Agnew once write Eberstadt’s catalogues? I couldn’t find “quisquilious” in my Webster’s dictionary, all 1,500 pages. According to the internet, “quisquilious” means something worthless, and if it’s on the internet, it must be true. $375.
Michael Brown Rare Books can be found at www.mbamericana.com or at 215-387-9808.