DOOLITTLE, Benjamin (1695-1749). A Short Narrative of Mischief done by the French and Indian Enemy, on the Western Frontiers of the Province of Massachusetts-Bay; From the Beginning of the French War, proclaimed by the King of France March 15th 1743, 4; and by the King of Great Britain March 29th 1744, to August 2d 1748. Boston: S. Kneeland, 1750.
8o in 4s (178 x 110 mm). 22 pages. (Last leaf with upper corner renewed, with a few letters and page numbers in manuscript facsimile, some marginal staining.) Sewn (threads and spine renewed); brown cloth folding case. Provenance: Stephen Williams, 1750 (signature [faded] at top of title); Samuel Williams (signature on title); Frank T. Siebert (his sale Sotheby's New York, 21 May 1999, lot 432, calling the author "Thomas Doolittle").
FIRST EDITION. Benjamin Doolittle was the first settled minister in Northfield, Massachusetts, ordained in 1718. Published posthumously, this brief pamphlet outlines in great detail the happenings in and around Northfield, Deerfield, and Fort Massachusetts from 1744 to 1749. Written in journal form, the work provides a first-hand look at these New England frontier sites during King George's War. His listing shows a marked increase in activity as the years progressed. In August of 1748 violence finally subsided: "A Cessation of Arms being heard of in Canada, put a stop to the Enemy's coming out" (p. 21).
A SUPERB ASSOCIATION COPY, owned by Stephen Williams, himself a captive, only 10 years old when captured by Abenaki Indians in 1704, along with his father, John Williams, and three siblings. John Williams was a prominent and well-connected member of the New England clergy, and his captivity was a matter of great concern throughout the colony. During their captivity, John Williams' wife died, having been weakened from childbirth, and the children were separated from their father for more than two years. Governor Joseph Dudley negotiated the final terms of his release in 1706--terms that involved the exchange of the notorious French pirate Baptiste for Williams and other New Englanders. After his release, Williams returned to Deerfield and later married his wife's cousin, Abigail Allen Bissell. He wrote the tale of his captivity in 1707, shortly after his "redemption." The narrative was extremely popular and eventually went through six editions over the course of the century. His account, The Redeemed Captive returning to Zion is one of the classics of the genre. Since the present text describes an attack on his home town of Deerfield, it is fitting that Stephen Williams acquired the work. VERY RARE: this is the only copy recorded in American Book Prices Current since at least 1960. Evans 6488; Sabin 20613; Vail 445.