CREVÉCOEUR, Michel Guillaume St. Jean de (1735-1813). Letters from an American Farmer; Describing Certain Provincial Situations, Manners, and Customs, Not Generally Known; and Conveying Some Idea of the Late and Present Interior Circumstances of the British Colonies in North America. London: Thomas Davies and Lockyer Davis, 1782.
8° (227 x 137 mm). Half-title, 2-page publisher's advertisement at end. 2 engraved folding maps of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard (a few pale spots). Original blue boards, uncut (rebacked, covers detached, lightly soiled); blue cloth slipcase. Provenance: R.C. Gurney (early ownership signature on flyleaf); Robert Montgomery (bookplate on pastedown); Bradley H. Martin (his sale, Sotheby’s New York, 31 January 1990, lot 2512); Carol G. and William E. Simon (bookplate in slipcase).
FIRST EDITION OF A WORK WHICH "HAD A GREATER INFLUENCE IN ATTRACTING ITS READERS TO AMERICA THAN ANY OTHER BOOK OF THE PERIOD" (Vail). The maps provide the first detailed descriptions of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. "The author was a native of Normandy, of noble birth, and came to the British Colonies at the age of sixteen. Having established himself on a farm near the frontier, he became one of the first victims of the War of Independence, the Indian allies of Great Britain setting fire and destroying his property. He wrote his letters during the different epochs of the war, in English. Returning to France, he translated them into French" (Sabin 17496). Clark Old South I:218; Howes C-883 ("As literature unexcelled by an American work of the eighteenth century"); Meisel III, p. 352; Monaghan 497; Phillips Maps, pp. 389, 457; Streeter II:711 ("These are a series of twelve charming letters, describing the life in America, four of them about Nantucket, and one about Martha's Vineyard and the Whale Fishery"); Vail 674.