London: Printed for the Author, 1788.
GORDON, William. The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment, of the Independence of the United States of America. Including an Account of the Late War; and of the Thirteen Colonies, from their Origin to that Period. In Four Volumes. London: Printed for the Author, 1788.
First edition. Four octavo volumes (8 3/8 x 5 1/8 inches; 212 x 131 mm). , 504; , 584; , 499, [1, blank]; , 445, [1, blank], [34, index], [2, blank] pp. Complete with nine folding maps, one of which is on blue paper. With lists of British and American subscribers.
Contemporary full tree-calf. Spines elaborately stamped and lettered in gilt. Board edges stamped in gilt. Top edge dyed brown, others speckled brown. Some minor rubbing to joints and corners. Previous owner's old ink signature dated 1841 on front free endpaper of each volume. Volume I with previous owner's signature on top blank margin of title-page. Overall a fine, handsome set.
William Gordond was an independent minister and writer, was born at Hitchin, Hertfordshire... He was ordained on 9 October 1754, but resigned his charge, after a quarrel, on 3 June 1764, and was invited to a pastorate at Gravel Lane, Southwark, in succession to David Jennings. He remained there until 1770, when his political sympathies prompted him to move to America, where he lived for about fifteen years. In 1772 he was pastor of the Third Congregational Church at Roxbury, Massachusetts. In the same year he was made chaplain to the provincial congress of Massachusetts. In early 1776 he was dismissed from both houses after delivering a harsh attack on article 5 of the articles of confederation.... In 1776 Gordon determined to write a history of the events he witnessed in North America, and began collecting correspondence and interviewing military officers and statesmen. He believed that the new republic would not be receptive to an impartial history and so hoped to have better success in England. His History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of the Independence of the United States of America first appeared in London in 1788 and in an American edition the following year. It remained a primary authority on the conflict for the next century." Oxford DNB).
The "first full-scale history of this war by an American; to its preparation Jefferson contributed some aid." (Howes).
"Gordon is deservedly reckoned as one of the most impartial and reliable of the numerous historians of the American Revolution. 'This work deserves little encomium, but the merit of fidelity is the first qualification in a historian, and to that claim, we believe, the present dispassionate writer is fully entitled.' -Monthly Review, LXXX. 441. The 'Critical Review' says that 'there arises some suspicion that Dr. Gordon actually wrote under the influence of American prejudice.' A suspicion which might perhaps have been confirmed had the reviewer been aware that the author was aided by Thomas Jefferson. See Tucker’s 'Life,' Vol. I. 260. Prof. Smyth characterizes the work as 'an immense collection of facts presented with great impartiality.' Sedgwick, in his 'Life of Livingston' (see pp. 128, 208) says, Gordon is generally inaccurate, and Bancroft, Vol. IV. 376, calls him inquisitive, but credulous." (Sabin).
Howes G256. Sabin 28011. ESTC T117050 .