London: Printed. Newburyport [Mass.]: Wm. Sawyer & Co. by E. M. Blunt, State-Street, 1808. 12mo. xi, [i], -366. FIRST AMERICAN EDITION. Old calf, rubbed but very sound, with red spine label; scattered foxing and small stains throughout. The “Reprinted for” on the title page has been scratched out. With the bookplate of H. O. Havemeyer, Jr. on the paste-down, 2 small stickers on the front and rear paste-downs, and a small clipping tipped onto the front fly-leaf. Item #15014
ANTI-AMERICANA. First American edition of this “highly readable” and quite enjoyable travelogue from the point of view of a very opinionated and interesting person. Sabin notes that the original British edition was printed the same year in London, in three volumes. Written in the form of letters by the author, this work purports to be an exploration of various rivers and their vicinities, especially down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers by flatboat, undertaken only two years after Lewis and Clark’s expedition by river further west. While this context is interesting in and of itself, the work is in fact so much more than the title would suggest: “An unmeasured hatred of the Americans pervades the whole of Mr. Ashe’s narrative. His account of the Atlantic States forms the most comprehensive piece of national abuse we ever recollect to have perused. Their inhabitants it seems are all abominably vicious; but in degrees very nicely distinguished; the middle states being bad - the northern very bad - and the southern execrable” (quoted in Sabin).
Provenance: H.O. Havemeyer was an important American entrepreneur and president of the American Sugar Refining Company. He and his wife Louisine were major buyers of impressionist art (advised by Mary Cassatt) and their brilliant collection eventually went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Ashe (1770-1885) was an Irish writer who spent many years traveling abroad “in a free and unconstrained fashion, and experiencing a somewhat chequered fortune” (DNB). His major interest focused on archaeological remains. In addition to the present work, Ashe also published a book on mammoth bones in Ohio and a sketch of Brazil and Madeira.