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[Benton, Youngs Elliott?].  Manuscript on paper, in English. [Maine?: , 1839–42]. Oblong 8vo (17.1 cm, 6.75"). [4], 168 pp. (115 used).
$375.00

A commonplace book of religious, literary, philosophical, and historical excerpts, contemplations, and poems in English and French, apparently recorded by a student at Bowdoin College in Maine. The volume opens with a poem that begins "Where's now the hand that coursed along this page? / Gone – where spirits rest age after age"; while the original writer signed this poem only "A Friend," another hand has pencilled beneath it that it was "Written by Dr. E.B. Webb, Shawmut Church, Boston," who was a member of Bowdoin's 1846 class.
        Following that gloomy start is a carefully indited title-page reading "Liber Memoriae continens Excerpta momentosa et Annales Rerum. Collegium Bowdoinense . . . MDCCCXXXIX," following which are brief writings on the study of the origin of letters; ancient floods; spiritual beliefs of ancient Romans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and others; and lives of Walter Scott, Robert Burns, James Beattie, John Ledyard, Isaac Newton, etc. Also present are the names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence ("John Hancock" large and flourishing), the Ten Commandments (here described as the Decalogue), and poems including "The Temperance Ship," "Twilight" (by Miss Huntley), "The Album's Petition," and "The Hope of Heaven."
        One clue to the ownership/authorship of this volume is a laid-in newspaper clipping noting the golden wedding celebration of Mr. and Mrs. Youngs Elliott Benton of Linden, MI, taken from the Isabella County Enterprise of 13 February 1878. Benton (1807–90) is not listed as a graduate of Bowdoin nor as a student who entered by did not graduate; he was, however, a descendant of John Eliot, "the Apostle of the Indians," and the translator of the Bible into the Massachusett language.

Publisher's marbled paper–covered boards with roan shelfback; binding rubbed overall. Three additional leaves of notes laid in; pages gently age-toned with occasional small spots. => A very readable, evocative, wide-ranging compendium.  (37203)   Please RESHELVE This.


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