N. p. [but Rhode Island]: n. p., ca. 1836-1837]. First edition? Broadside, 11.5 x 7.13 inches (30 x 18 cm), printed in double columns. Old folds, some stains and small tears and flaws (touching the printed border but with no loss to the text); in good condition. Item #19338
Perhaps one of the most popular American poems inspired by bookkeeping and social reform, from the Rhode Island country doctor and popular homespun temperance lecturer and author Charles Jewett (1807-1879), a poem against the retailing of liquor, moderately graphic verses inspired by an incident in the account books of a shopkeeper relating to “the death of a drunkard named Briggs” (Thayer) whose accounts recorded the purchase of a quart of gin each succeeding day for a week until “Saturday’s charge make out the account complete, / To cloth, five yards, to make a winding sheet.” With the location printed at the foot of the text, Centreville, R. I., where Jewett practiced medicine; per the 1880 life of Jewett by William M. Thayer, “A short time before [Jewett] relinquished his medical practice for the temperance-lecture field, he wrote ‘An Address to Retailers of Intoxicating Liquors,’ in rhyme, which was published in Zion’s Herald, Boston. The friends of temperance in Rhode Island printed it subsequently in the form of a handbill, and scattered it by thousands across the state.” Per Katherine Nelson’s 2006 doctoral dissertation on temperance physicians, Jewett moved his family to Providence in 1837 to take up temperance activism full time, suggesting a possible publication date. OCLC notes two separate entries for single copies at Brown, each with slightly different given measurements and each somewhat larger than this copy. In any case, ephemeral and uncommon.