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    Description

    Samuel Nevill: The Acts of the General Assembly of the Province of New Jersey with Handwritten Shipwreck Account. (Philadelphia: William Bradford, 1752), 504 pages, full sheep, banded spine, index included, 7.5" x 12". Not only does this book contain Acts for raising troops in the French and Indian War and regulation of slaves, it also has a remarkable handwritten account by a castaway on a sea voyage and shipwreck begun in 1759, written within the pages of this government publication. The French and Indian War would plant the seeds of contention between British and Colonial soldiers which would eventually lead to the Revolutionary War a decade later. This book starts the reader on that journey. However, within its pages, starting on the back of the dedication page is a handwritten account of a sea voyage. It continues in the upper margins of pages 1-12. A small portion reads: "A Person that were shipwrecked and castaway on sea is now about to give a true detail of the surprising accidents that happened to him during his four years voyage which is as follows: This person set sail in the month of December Anno Dom, 1758 from Charles Town in a vessel of 160 tons Burden she was newly rigged and bound to Guinea. In 4 days after her departure from the above named port a very severe storm arose from the N.E. consisting of Hail & Rain the sea ten mountains high the wind blew exceeding...It seemed if Heaven frowned on us, however, our pumps were still kept in motion and kept the water low...the wind blew amazingly strong from the North which occasioned a very rough sea the waters turn mountains high then all on board began to think on the weather they met with on the 3rd day of their voyage and what appeared more alarming the clouds were covering the sky...uncommon dark and threatening...and night approaching about 8 o'clock in the evening the wind shifted very suddenly tothe N.W. and increased to an impossible high took our vessel loaded...almost level with the waters the door on the deck flew open - oh the horror that filled each of our hearts, but being all certain...".

    The story ends unexpectedly this point, the only additional clues being a note in the margin of page 139 which reads: "Richard Porter in his hand and penned the year of our Lord 1787," and a cryptic note written vertically in the margin of page 411, in a frail and shaky hand: "I am out of humanitys reach I must finish my journey alone [indecipherable] never hear the sweat must of speech I start at the sound of my own". This is an intriguing account, deserving of further research and inspection. The book itself is in very good condition; the sheep has begun to rot and rub off; corners bumped and rounded; boards exposed; top half of title page missing; index page 503/504 is torn in half.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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