SMITH, William (1728 - 1793). THE HISTORY OF THE PROVINCE OF NEW-YORK, FROM THE FIRST DISCOVERY TO THE YEAR M.DCC.XXXII… A DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY, WITH A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE INHABITANTS, THEIR TRADE, RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL STATE, AND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE COURTS OF JUSTICE.. London: Printed for Thoma Wilcox, 1757.
4to (10 3/8 x 7 7/8 in.; 263 x 200 mm Engraved folding frontispiece "The South View of Oswego on Lake Ontario," by Mynde bound after the Preface (map creased with marginal teas and chips, light browning to text block). Contemporary calf. Six ompartments, five raised bands. Gilt black morocco title block in 2nd compartment (worn, rebacked).
First edition of THE FIRST HISTORY OF NEW YORK a cornerstone of colonial history, and an exceptionally fine copy. William Smith, a Loyalist who graduated from Yale in 1745, became the justice of the province of New York but left the country after the Revolution for Lower Canada where he became chief justice. Smith's work was based "chiefly on the Provincial Laws, the Minutes of the Council, the Journals of the General Assembly and other government records. After the Revolution to accept a post as Chief Justice of Lower Canada. While he had finished his history of New York nearly up to the present time, he was persuaded "by forcible reasons" to limit the first edition of his history to the year 1732. The unpublished remainder appeared for the first time in 1826, as Volume IV of the Collections of the New-York Historical Society. Smith based his landmark work, a cornerstone of colonial history, "chiefly on the Provincial Laws, the Minutes of the Council, the Journals of the General Assembly and other government records" (Sabin 84566He also acknowledges his indebtedness to Colden's "History of the Five Indian nations", and to Charlevoix. "The History." proper covers pp. 1-180, while a description of the province, geographical, political, etc., forms pp. 181-255" (Sabin). Church 1023; Howes S-703; Sabin 84566 (describes this copy  in great detail). For more information on this book, or a warm welcome to see others in our collection at 72nd Street NYC, please contact Natalie Zadrozna.