Description

    One of the Earliest Accounts of North Carolina

    John Lawson. The History of Carolina; Containing the Exact Description and Natural History of That Country. Together with the Present State Thereof, and a Journal of a Thousand Miles, Travel'd Thro' Several Nations of Indians, Giving a Particular Account of Their Customs, Manner, &c. London: Printed for W. Taylor at the Ship, and J. Baker at the Black-Boy, 1714.

    First edition, second issue. Small quarto. [xi], 258, [1, publisher's advertisement]. Complete with the folding map and engraved animal plate.

    Contemporary full paneled calf with gilt armorial centerpiece on the boards, reading "The Society of Writers of the Signet." Spine neatly rebacked, with original crimson leather title label laid down. Moderate wear to the board edges and corners. Light foxing to map. Scattered spotting throughout, heaviest at the beginning and end leaves. Ink initials to verso of title page. The letter "L" in pencil in most fore-edge margins. An excellent copy of a rare early work on the Carolinas, written by a man who was, depending on which source one believes, either buried alive by Indians or burned at the stake by them.

    "Little is known about Lawson's early life. In 1700, being 'in a mood for travel,' he accidentally met with a gentleman...who assured him that 'Carolina was the best country to visit.' He landed at Charles Town, South Carolina, in August, 1700, and in December of that year started on an overland journey, traveling one thousand miles 'in Indian country.' He went up the coast to the Santee River, thence to the Catawba, crossed the Yadkin, traveled through the interior of North Carolina, and finally arrived on the 'Pamptioough River,' in February, 1701. He was one of the incorporators of Bath, the oldest town in North Carolina, and with von Graffenreid was the co-founder of New Bern (1710). He was surveyor-general of North Carolina, and while engaged in surveying work was killed by the Indians, near the present town of Snow Hill, North Carolina, in September 1711. Lawson's book is one of the most valuable of the early histories of North Carolina, and it is certainly one of the best travel accounts of the early eighteenth-century colonies. He describes the soil, climate, trees, plants, animals, fish, and almost every other aspect of the colony. It is particularly good on 'natural history' and Indians. M. C. Tyler says it is 'an uncommonly strong and sprightly book'" (Clark I: 115).

    Field 897. Howes L155. Sabin 39452.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
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