Boston: Printed by Jonathan Howe, Corner of Merchants Row and Clinton Street, [1829 or 1830]. First edition. Original roan spine, marbled boards, 4.5 x 2.88 inches, 96 pages. Somewhat rubbed; some light damp-staining, some light foxing; a good copy. Item #19914
With the printed notice on the verso of the title page, “I tender my thanks to the gentlemen who have presented me with the paper and printing of this edition. P. M. Davis.” Davis was also the author of An Authentick History of the Late War between the United States and Great Britain (Ithaca, N.Y., 1829, with another version published in 1836 in New York), and given the note here on the supply of paper and printing, Davis seems perhaps to have been something of a catch-penny opportunist at best or even something of a scoundrel. Piecing together newspaper accounts and his later publication history, Davis later anointed himself a physician and dipped a foot into the hurly-burly of New York City politics after the Panic of 1837 as a proto locofoco—a letter in Niles Register of 9 June 1838 attacking the first Clark administration in New York alludes to Paris M. Davis as the quondom head of the native American party in the city, though “now ruralizing at Blackwell’s island;” the reasons for his incarceration are laid out by the Baltimore Sun of 29 September 1838, which reports, “Paris M. Davis, was sent to prison in New York, for obtaining a sum of money amounting to $70, and a note for the same amount, from a Mr. Francis McKentee. Davis had advertised for a partner, in what he represented to be a profitable business, and Mr. McKentee calling on him for information, he persuaded that gentleman to invest the above sum in a plan for publishing a new history of the battle of New Orleans. He represented himself as a gentleman worth $10,000 in real estate, and a physician in profession, but it was soon discovered that he had not a cent he could honestly call his own, and a rogue in practice.” What appears to be an expanded edition of this title was published in Binghamton, N.Y. in 1830 as The Baptist Conference and Prayer Meeting Hymn Book, Selected from the Best Authors and Compilers together with a Number Never before Published.