Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1865. Original pinkish-brown wrappers.
First Edition of this short tale that had first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 1863, and would later be collected in Hale's book IF, YES, AND PERHAPS (1868). "Written to inspire patriotism during the Civil War, it was suggested by the remark of [Ohio's Clement] Vallandigham that he did not wish to live in a country that tolerated Lincoln's administration" [OCAL]. The tale is an account of a fictional Philip Nolan, who, on trial with Aaron Burr for conspiracy, calls out "Damn the United States. I wish I may never hear of the United States again" -- and who is accordingly granted his wish, condemned to spend the rest of his life at sea, passed from ship to ship, denied any news of his country. The sentence achieves its intent, as Nolan ultimately realizes the immense worth of his country, and misses it terribly. The goal of the book was to urge people in the North, especially in "western" states like Ohio, to support the Northern cause in preserving the nation.
This copy is of the first state, without the publisher's tipped-in notice. It is in near-fine condition (hairline crack toward the bottom of the fragile spine, slight wear at a bottom corner of the front wrapper). In all, this is highly collectible condition for such a fragile volume. A "Johnson High Spot" and a "Peter Parley to Penrod" selection. Housed in a (scuffed) morocco-backed slipcase with inner chemise.
Provenance: 1865 signature "W.S. Burges," most likely that of Walter Snow Burges (1808-1892), who graduated from Brown University in 1831, got a law degree, and went on to hold a number of elected Rhode Island state offices -- such as RI attorney general 1851-1863, and associate justice on the RI Supreme Court 1868-1881; his papers are held at the Rhode Island Historical Society. Item #15156