Newburgh [New York]: Printed by Parmenter & Spaulding, for the Dialectic Society, 1829. First edition. Original printed wrappers, 7 x 4.5 inches, 24 pages, stitched. Some light staining and soiling and wear; a very good copy. Item #20487
“The following pages were originally written for the Dialectic Society of *West-Point,* composed of Cadets of the U. S. Military Academy, and the author had not the most distant view to their publication. . . . As the subject of this number had a particular reference to themselves, the Society requested its publication, for the purpose of furnishing copies of it to the Corps of Cadets generally for whom alone it is intended.” Moderately labored literary humor from a pseudonymous West Point cadet, signed in type with the pseudonym, a mildly satirical topographical description of a cadet as though he were a landscape: “Neither are there any trees or plants, the only leaves that grow there are leaves of absence and the scarcest of all roots is ‘the root of all evil.’ The soil is unproductive and in the absence of better supplies it derives its support from the Mess Hall, consisting primarily of beef and potatoes.” This copy with the early ink inscription on the front wrapper, “Cadet Ritner, U. S. M. A.,” with a scarcely legible note in his hand below that. (Ritner was the “Reader” for the Dialectic Society.) This copy then bears the additional stenciled or stamped ink ownership mark of cadet Phao Jarrett to the upper wrapper, title page, final page of text, and rear wrapper. Jarrett had been admitted to West Point from Pennsylvania in 1828 and in 1829, but was unable to complete the course because of finances; Ritner graduated from West Point in 1830 and died in Buffalo Township, Penna. in 1834 from an ailment contracted while serving in the Blackhawk War. See Cullum’s Register, as well as the List of Cadets Admitted Into the United States Military Academy, West Point (GPO, 1902). Given the graduation numbers from West Point from 1829 to 1833 (Cullum Numbers 541-706), one suspects there were not many more than 165-175 cadets enrolled at the time of publication. American Imprints 37352; Sabin 22545.