THE FORESTERS, AN AMERICAN TALE: BEING A SEQUEL TO THE HISTORY OF JOHN BULL THE CLOTHIER. IN A SERIES OF LETTERS TO A FRIEND. Boston: I. Thomas and E. T. Andrews, proprietors of the work, Faust's Statue, No. 45, Newbury Street, MDCCXCII . 12mo, pp. [1-3] 4-5  7-216, engraved frontispiece, eighteenth-century tree calf, red leather title piece affixed to spine panel. First edition. "About 1787," Jeremy Belknap (1744-1798), "amused himself by writing THE FORESTERS, a humorous allegory describing the origin and rise of the British colonies in North America. It appeared serially in the COLUMBUS MAGAZINE, and later (1792) the chapters were collected and put forth as a small book." - DAB. Belknap "was born and educated in Boston, but later removed to Dover, N. H., where he served as a clergyman for twenty years. He returned to Boston in 1787, continuing his profession, and subsequently founded the Massachusetts Historical Society [in 1794; the first of its kind in the United States]. Belknap's real place is among the historians, where he ranks with the elect. His most noted historical works are his HISTORY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE (1784-1792), and his AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY (1792-1794). His one important work of fiction was THE FORESTERS, an 'allegory of the clearing out of John Bull's wilderness, and incidentally of John Bull himself.' It was the third American novel published, in a very tenuous sense the first American historical novel, and, except for Hopkinson's PRETTY STORY [a 29-page pamphlet published in 1774], the first bit of American fiction of even modest literary merit." - Fullerton, Selective Bibliography of American Literature 1775-1900, p. 23. Petter, The Early American novel, 87-8. Wright (I) 289. Scattered staining and foxing, leaves G6, H1 and I3 have closed tears, chip from lower fore-edge margin of P1, frontispiece has a small chip from the upper fore-edge margin and short closed tear in the fore-edge margin, a good copy. (#165179).
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