Philadelphia: Gregg & Elliot, 1834.
3.5 x 5.5 inches, pp xi, 13-162, in original printed paper boards with black leather spine. Boards darkened, stained, and worn at the corners, front joint partially cracked, but otherwise sound. Ownership signature of Henry Barnes dated 1840 on several pages. Moderate foxing throughout; good.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1737, James Smith was captured by Delaware Indians at the age of 18, brought to Fort Duquesne and turned over to the French, and ultimately adopted by a Mohawk family. He traveled with them through the Old Northwest for four years, finally escaping and returning to western Pennsylvania to take up farming. He also became an active military campaigner, serving in the 1760s as commander of the “Black Boys,” a self-appointed group of irregulars that opposed British policy toward the Indians and sought to protect white settlements in the region. "In 1764 he joined Henry Bouquet’s expedition against the Ohio Indians as a lieutenant. With a group of comrades he explored eastern Kentucky and Tennessee in 1766 and 1767, being among the first Europeans to enter that part of the world" (ANB). In the 1790s, he settled in Kentucky, where he served for several years as a legislator in the General Assembly. This account of his captivity ordeal was first published by John Bradford in Lexington in 1799. Our copy is a reprint of the 1831 second edition. All early printings are scarce. Howes (S-606) describes the content as the "dynamic activities of an inveterate frontiersman on the borders of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky, including a captivity among the Indians from 1755 to 1759. One of the imperial books on the early Ohio valley." Field (p. 367) says "Colonel Smith was himself the type of the chivalric, brave, and generous frontiersman, of which class Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton were famous examples. He possessed the advantage of an intellect cultivated in the rude border schools, it is true, yet not ill cultivated in such places as heroes were not seldom bred." Ayer 267; Sabin 82765.