Boston: Printed for the Publisher, 1855. First edition. 12mo, original printed green wrappers, 20 pages. Old light vertical creasing; some abrasion and slight chipping to the rear wrapper; faint tide-mark to the lower half of each leaf; a very good copy. Item #14523
An attack on the world of sharp business practices and bankruptcies during the striving years prior to the Panic of 1857, most especially leveled against those who settle with their creditors for pennies on the dollar: "Among these criminal defaulters, some occupy expensive houses, extravagantly furnished, perhaps, and who live in them accordingly, giving splendid and costly parties, in some instances, where invited crowds assemble and feast upon 'the spoils' which have been surreptitiously drawn from the pockets of those who once had the misfortune to have confided in their honesty. Some make the fashionable tour to Niagara, linger a month at Newport, or spend a season at Nahant, with horses and vehicles from the city for pastime. . . ." (Dexter occupies nearly an entire following page with a catalog of the excesses of the wealthy, including the keeping of a wine cellar, attendance at theatres and purchasing costly books.) As befits an antiquarian (Dexter also published an extensively annotated edition of Boston's 1789 city directory), his moral argument here is bolstered by largely unattributed quote from such sources as Watts, Boyse, Cowper, Addison, Otway, Young, Pope, Blair, Massinger, Armstrong's "Art of Preserving Health," and the hands-down favorite (suitable to the topic), extracts from Johnson's Vanity of Human Wishes.