Inscribed on the flyleaf “Steel not this Book For / For fear of Shame For underneath thair is / Oners Name David Sayles Ensign / NewPoart May 6 Day AD 1776 / Nicholas Jencks His work.” Two days prior to this inscription, Rhode Island became the first of the thirteen colonies to renounce its allegiance to George III.
David Sayles (1755-1820) was a great-great-great-grandson of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams. Sayles was commissioned an ensign in Col. Babcock’s regiment on January 15, 1776, and promoted to lieutenant in Col. Christopher Lippitt’s regiment later that year. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in Col. Angell’s regiment on January 1, 1777, in Captain David Dexter’s company and promoted to first lieutenant on June 12, 1777. Sayles received a promotion to captain of the Rhode Island regiment on May 1, 1782. He resigned on March 17, 1783, and returned to Rhode Island. He was an early member of the Society of the Cincinnati.
Nicholas Jencks (1750-1819) was born in Smithfield, Rhode Island and served as a sergeant in David Dexter’s company in Colonel Christopher Lippitt’s regiment in 1776, then in Colonel John Topham’s regiment in 1779. He moved to New York state in 1796.
Any printed works carried during the Revolution are rare on the market. This edition appears to be scarce: the last offering we find was by Goodspeed’s in 1934.
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