8vo., bound in 6’s (7 ¾ x 4 ½ inches). Publisher’s advertisement to verso of vignette title page. Engraved frontispiece. 8 engraved plates (light, uneven tanning, occasional spotting). Contemporary American tree calf, the smooth spine in four compartments with gilt lettering in one and elaborate floral tooling in the others (a bit shelfworn).
First American edition (first published in England in 1834). “In 1831 [Whitehead] published The Solitary, a lengthy meditative poem whose implacable melancholy was partly occasioned by the drowning of one of his three brothers. This first work attracted favourable notice but few purchasers…During the 1830s he contributed widely to magazines (among them The Monthly, The Court, and Bentley's Miscellany) and to such annuals as Friendship's Offering and Amaranth. He was also, for some eight years, a reader for Bentley and, from 1836, editor of Chapman and Hall's Library of Fiction. Of his more substantial works from this decade, The Lives and Exploits of English Highwaymen, Pirates and Robbers (1834) is essentially an updated revision of earlier compilations by other hands, but The Autobiography of Jack Ketch (1834) adroitly parodies the vogue for ‘Newgate’ fiction while simultaneously generating its own macabre comedy” (Robert Dingley for DNB).