Van Rensselaer, Solomon
A Narrative of the Affair of Queenstown: in the War of 1812. With a Review of the Strictures of that Event, in a Book Entitled, "Notices of the War of 1812"
Seller ID: 980
New-York: Leavitt, Lord & Co., 1836. First edition (41, 95, adverts). Small octavo (12 cm x 19 cm) in original decorative brown cloth, title label to spine (reads 'The War of Queenstown/ L. & Co./ 1836'); folding map of the Niagara frontier details disposition of American troops, etc., in Summer and Fall 1812; lengthy appendix with copies of correspondence among various American officers; twenty-two page publisher's catalogue. Solomon Van Rensselaer (1774- 1852), who served as aide-de-camp to his cousin Stephen Van Rensselaer III (1764- 1839), the commander of American troops at the battle of Queenston Heights, published this defence of the conduct of the disastrous campaign which all but destroyed Stephen Van Rensselaer's political ambitions. Minor wear top and bottom spine; light moisture stain bottom front and back covers; folding map with rough edges and small tear at fold. Generally, a clean presentable copy. [Possibly an interesting association with the apparent signature in pencil on the ffep of 'W[illiam] H[enry] Seward' (1801- 72), secretary of state in the Lincoln and Johnson administrations, who promoted the purchase of Alaska by the U. S. from Russia ('Seward's Folly'). Seward's name has been lightly struck through with another pencil, seemingly a gesture to indicate new ownership-- the lines (there are two) are wider and softer than the fine, hard lines of Seward's signature. A comparison of Seward's signature here (which I take to be quite early-- he would have been about 35 when the book appeared) with examples of his signature as secretary of state shows differences: the signature here has an elaborated final 'd' and emphasizes the capitals; whereas the four or five document signatures I have seen do away with almost all decoration. Nevertheless, common to all the examples, the characteristic crossing the 'H' to the the 'S' and the formation of the capital letters are persuasive. It is likely, Seward, a New York Whig reformer, as was Stephen Van Rensselaer ('The Patroon of Rensselaerwyck'), would have been interested in Solomon's defense of the conduct of the Niagara campaign-- especially as the military defeat cost Van Rensselaer a chance to be elected governor of New York, a post Seward was about to take up.] A very presentable copy.
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