Adair's Rare Book on the History of the American IndiansJames Adair. The History of the American Indians; Particularly Those Nations adjoining to the Mississippi, East and West Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, and Virginia: Containing An Account of their Origin, Language, Manners, Religious and Civil Customs, Laws, Form of Government... London: Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, 1775. First edition of this history of the Indians, written by a trader who had traded with the Indian tribes for forty years. Approximately 10.75 x 8.5 inches. , 464 pages. With folding engraved map at front, but lacking half-title. Bound in modern half red cloth over gray pebbled cloth, spine ruled and lettered in gilt. Binding worn, with part of spine missing, previous owner's neat ink signature on title page, map with repairs to verso, worm damage to upper and lower margin of text, first several and last several pages of text with marginal paper repair with some loss of text, some ink notes and black and red pencil notes throughout, text toned. Good.
This book is somewhat unusual in its main argument: "...in proof of the American Indians being descended from the Jews" (p. ix). "Mr. Adair points out various customs of the Indians, having a striking resemblance to those of the Jews; and the great object of his work appears to be, to prove that the aborigines of America are descended from that race. Some distrust appears to have fallen upon his statements, although he himself says that his account is neither disfigured by fable nor prejudice" (Allen, as quoted by Sabin). Whatever the outcome of this argument made by the author, Howes refers to this book as the "Best 18th century English source on the Southern tribes, written by one who traded forty years with them." Howes A38. Sabin, pp. 23-24.
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