Item #1072 Lecture on War. William Ellery Channing.
Lecture on War.
Lecture on War.
War with England! “Can a more calamitous event, with the exception of Civil War be imagined?”

Lecture on War.

Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, 1839. Item #1072

Folio.  280 x 220 mm., [11 ¼ x 8 ¾ inches].  [2], 51 leaves.  Printed on recto only.  Title enclosed in an elegant woodcut border printed in gold ink; the remainder of the text printed in black ink enclosed by an elegant wood cut border printed in light brown ink.  Bound in embossed brown goat skin with a triple fillet border in gilt, gilt spine with authors name and part of the title; “Channing on War”.  Herringbone patterned endpapers. Binder’s ticket of P. Low of Devonshire Street, Boston; boards with minor rubbing, some very light spotting.  Stamped “Ex Libris Wilson H. Kimnach” on front pastedown. Probably a copy printed and bound for presentation.  Very good copy in a contemporary American binding.

In 1838 and 1839 the United States was entangled in a border dispute over the boundaries of New Brunswick, Canada and the State of Maine.  The conflict was termed the Aroostook War.  Bloodless though it was it was a long running battle between logger of Canada and settlers from Maine who in 1838 raised armies of locals to confront one another and near bedlam broke loose.  General Winfred Scott was dispatched to Maine by President Van Buren and he met with his counterpart Sir John Harvey and together they negotiated a settlement which resulted in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842. 

Channing’s response to the Aroostook War was this essay, a corollary to his most famous “Sermon on War” delivered in 1816, a plea for the elimination of war in modern society.  In this 1839 lecture Channing writes, “In the following lecture, I shall aim to set forth the Chief Evil of war, to set forth its great Remedy, and then to point out some of the Causes of the faint impression made by its woes and crimes.”  It was one of his final publications, one which was often referred to by pacifists  and anti-slavery advocates before the crisis that lead to the Civil War. 

William Ellery Channing (1780-1842) was a leading theologians, pacifist, and ultimately abolitionists who public life and written works traversed the first four decades of the 19th century.  He was witness to the development of the new nation and was an influential commentator whose writings chronicled the religious, social, and cultural evolution of American Society.  This copy of his “Lecture on War”, no doubt printed for presentation, is an excellent example of fine book production in Boston in the mid-19th century.

Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, I, pp. 576-77.  Allibone, S. Austin,  A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors,  I, p. 367.

Price: $450.00