MATHER, INCREASE. 1639-1723.
A Brief History of the Warr With the Indians in New-England, (From June 24, 1675 when the first English-man was murdered by the Indians, to August 12, 1676, when Philip, alias Metacomet, the principal Author and Beginner of the Warr, was slain.) Boston: Printed and sold by John Foster over against the Sign of the Dove, 1676.
12mo (185 x 130 mm). a4(-a4 probably blank) A-F4 G2 r4. , 51, [1 blank], 8 pp. Without the final 15 leaves being the separately paginated sermon "An Earnest Exhortation...." Early 20th century full green morocco, spine gilt-lettered. Title toned, small hole to C3 with loss of several letters, a few fore-edges trimmed close, some brown spots to last 3 leaves, final page soiled.
SUPERLATIVELY RARE FIRST EDITION, being an extremely early American secular imprint published by the first printer of Boston, John Foster. Increase Mather's local account is the third of what are known as the King Philip's War tracts, giving a blow-by-blow description of events from June 24, 1675 to August 12, 1676 in New England. "King Philip" was the name the English gave to Metacom (1639-1676), chief of the Wampanoag. Though the war lasted little more than a year, it was proportionally speaking one of the costliest in American history, with about half of New England's towns subject to some native attack. Increase Mather published this tract to counter other accounts which blamed the war on the persecution of Quakers. William Hubbard's account competed with Mather's. "Indeed, the two treatises were probably almost simultaneously passing through the press of John Foster. Mr. Drake observes: 'When it is considered that the war was not ended until the autumn of 1676, the year in which it was printed, it must be apparent to every reader that the work was a hurried performance'" (Sabin).
On the rarity of this volume: "no epithet can be too strong to characterize the scarcity of the one introuvable which so long escaped the search of American collectors; so rare, that Prince did not secure it for his New England Library, though he could pick up half a dozen Bay Psalm Books; so rare that S. G. Drake, the most indefatigable and successful of collectors, could not find it for his reprint, in 1862, and was obliged to copy even his title page from the London edition...." (Brinley 948). This Brinley copy is in fact the most recent one we see at auction, sold in 1881. Church 642, Evans 220; Howes M400 ("dd"); Winsor, New England Indians, pp 24ff; Sabin 46640.
- The image of the title-page of this volume shows the top right corner folded over. This corner is present with a larger margin than the rest of the title; the deckle-edge of the fore-margin is preserved.