The current release of Early American Imprints, Series II: Supplement 3 from the American Antiquarian Society includes several exceedingly rare imprints, including the captivity narrative and children’s poetry books highlighted below. Each is illustrated.
The Cries of London, As They Are Daily Exhibited in the Streets. With an Epigram in Verse, Adapted To Each. Embellished with Elegant Characteristic Engravings (1805)
Similar to other books about the street mongers of New York and Philadelphia, this imprint is beautifully illustrated by intaglio prints attributed to William Ralph. In the preface, the author admonishes the reader not to abjure the lower classes which engage in street sales who are “generally speaking, of the lowest and most illiterate order.” However, he advises respect:
…and daily experience will demonstrate, that the most amiable virtues and excellent dispositions are frequently met with in the lowest spheres of life; and therefore, although we should not act towards our inferiors with an unbecoming familiarity, we should never treat them with haughtiness, nor make them the subject of our ridicule; remembering, that while a sounding title or a weighty purse may excite the temporary admiration of an unthinking multitude, virtue, piety, and integrity, are the only things that can ensure the blessing of Heaven, and render us truly respectable.
The preface concludes with a verse about London the last few lines of which pose a question.
Chairmen, carmen, kennel-rakers,