London: Printed for J. Almon, 1773. 83pp. Quarto. 20th-century three-quarter calf and marbled boards, spine richly gilt with raised bands, leather label, gilt ex-libris on upper outer corner of front pastedown. Light scattered foxing, corners of first two leaves darkened. Very good. Item #WRCAM57681
A scarce collection of documents related to the First Carib War, printed just before its mutually unsatisfactory conclusion. In the late 1760s, Britain began taking steps towards a takeover of the rest of St. Vincent, of which they otherwise owned only the leeward portion. Eventually escalating into a full-scale military action in 1772, Black Carib forces under leader Joseph Chatoyer were able to exploit British unfamiliarity with the island to successfully stave off the invasion. The British agreed to a treaty in 1773 in the face of military stalemate and unpopularity at home, which resulted in a tenuous peace with the island divided between the Caribs on the windward side and the British confined to the leeward. Twenty years later, the Black Caribs (again led by Chatoyer, and supported by the French) attempted to push the British off of the island for good, but the Second Carib War ended in British victory and full control of Saint Vincent. The present work prints the text of government letters, memorials, and reports beginning with British attempts to purchase the rest of the island from the Caribs in 1767, all of which were rebuffed. While there is no introduction, these papers were likely published towards the end of the war in order to meet the widespread criticism of the conflict in Britain, and to justify the warlike position of the Commission for the Sale of Lands in the Newly Ceded Islands. The contents were also issued as part of PAPERS LAID BEFORE THE HOUSE OF COMMONS RELATIVE TO THE AFFAIRS OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY, FROM 1756 TO 1766.
This copy was owned by Brent Gration- Maxfield, with his gilt ex-libris on the upper outer corner of the front pastedown. He was a major collector of mostly 17th- and 18th-century books, and much of his collection was sold by Sotheby's in 1970. Gration-Maxfield's careful pencil notes on the front pastedown mention that "only one copy appears at auction 1902-1969" (that copy not recorded by Rare Book Hub or ABPC). We trace only a single additional copy since then, sold at Swann in 1991. CUNDALL, WEST INDIES 1924. ADAMS 73-2. JCB 1850. SABIN 2456. ESTC N16462.