The Sexagenary, or Reminiscences of the American Revolution.

BECKER John P.; BLOODGOOD S. DeWitt editor. (1833.)

£3000.00  [First Edition]

THE RARE FIRST EDITION

First edition. 8vo. An unsophisticated copy in quarter cloth over contemporary boards, a little soiled and rubbed, some spotting to text, inscription on front free endpaper, notations to title-page. 203, [1]pp. Albany, W.C. Little and O. Steele,

A very good copy of the first edition, printed in low numbers. Published at he suggestion of Governor De Witt Clinton, some of this text had "appeared from time to time in the columns of the Albany Daily Advertiser, but at such distant intervals as to lose its hold." The author, John Beekman, was a farmer just shy of his seventieth birthday. At the time, memoirs of those who fought in the Revolutionary War were being encouraged into print to provide as full a record of the event as possible.

 

The majority of this account is based in central New York state, where General Philip Schuyler was the local congressman. Becker records that when news arrived that "blood had been shed at Lexington [...] we gathered about Gen. Phil Schuyler, for further information. He was the oracle of our neighbourhood ... On this occasion he confirmed the intelligence already received, and expressed his belief that an important crisis had arrived which must sever us forever from the parent country."

 

Among the variety of incidents recounted here, Becker's thoughtful record includes a first-hand account of the General Burgoyne's surrender at the Saratoga Campaign 1777: "At this moment the two Generals [Gates and Burgoyne] came out of the Marquee together. the American commander faced road, and Burgoyne did the same  ... Burgoyne was a large and stoutly formed man, his countenance was rough and hard, and somewhat marked with scars ... but he had a handsome and noble air. Gates was a smaller man with much less of manner, and destitute of that air which distinguished Burgoyne. Presently General Burgoyne, as by previous understanding, stepped back, drew his sword, and in the face of the two armies, as it were, presented it to General gates, who received, and instantly returned it in the most courteous manner."

 

While this work is reasonably well held in institutions, it's uncommon in the trade. Indeed, the last copy at auction was at Sotheby's in 1972. A second edition was published in 1866.

 

Howes, B545; Sabin, 5985.

 

Stock Code: 243949

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