Struggles through Life, Exemplified in the Various Travels and Adventures in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, of Lieut. John Harriott, Formerly of Rochford, in Essex; now Resident-Magistrate of the Thames Police.
London: Printed (for the Author) by J. Skirven and published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1808. 2 vols., small 8vo, xxiv, 375; xi, 347,  pp. Engraved portrait and one folding plate. Early half cloth over marbled boards, backstrips gilt-lettered. Old ink signature on titles and occasional penciled notes by early owners, including a list of Harriots in the Bengal and Bombay Services on the vol. 2 endpapers. Backstrip and covers rubbed; vol. I upper board rehinged, very good. Second Edition; the first in 1807. Signed and dated by the author on recto of portrait. The postscript is a description of various devices to enable inhabitants to escape from the upper floors of burning buildings. It is almost impossible to summarize briefly the ventures and adventures of this rolling stone, who is given almost a page and a half in DNB. Clark states that he was "in his time a sailor, a soldier in India, an Essex worthy who improved his land, an inventor with several patents, and an author of various publications. He was the projector of the Thames police and was a resident magistrate at the Thames police court, 1798-1816." He also visited and resided in the United States on several occasions, and most of Volume II is devoted to his experiences as a Rhode Island merchant and a Long Island farmer. He toured the South as far as Virginia in 1796. Howes adds an unusually detailed note: "The author... seems to have acted as agent in a gigantic British scheme to purchase from Georgia seventeen million acres bordering on the Mississippi. This, tied in with intrigues to acquire Florida from Spain and to take over the disaffected Western country from the United States, undoubtedly had for object the confinement of the United States to the Eastern seaboard." Ragatz states that Harriott's book "enjoyed a tremendous vogue from about 1815 to 1835, the author's flare for picturesque language and his genuine ability to tell a tall tale convincingly combining to make him popular with old and young alike." Clark, Travels in the Old South, II, 96. Howes H-218. Ragatz, pp. 225-226. Sabin 30461.
(Item Id: 6126)