New-London [CT]: Printed by Timothy Green, 1760. 16mo. , 118 pp. Collation: A-P4. With the Articles for the Administration of Church Discipline bound in with its own title page and the Timothy Green 1760 imprint, but the pagination and signatures continuous. Bound in contemporary American calf over thin wooden "scaleboard." Spine chipped at the head and the foot; upper corner of the front board broken, some chipping to the other corners; a bit toned and lightly foxed; in good condition. Item #3262
There can be no doubt that this scaleboard binding was made in Connecticut ca. 1760-1763: not only was the book printed in New-London for the exclusive use of Connecticut congregationalists, but the first blank leaf is inscribed: "From the Colony of Connecticut to the Church att Somars [sic] 1763" (i.e. at Somers, CT). It is a remarkable fact that our binding is older than all the Connecticut examples in the Papantonio "Early American Bindings" Collection by more 20 years (the earliest one obtained by him was bound in Hartford ca. 1787).
Our hard-grained calf binding is unsophisticated; it has had some excellent damage which reveals its construction: the boards were made out of SCALEBOARD, i.e. thin planed wood, and not pastepaper boards. The use of scaleboard in early American bookbindings has received considerable scholarly attention of late; see Renee Wolcott's "Splintered: The History, Structure, and Conservation of American Scaleboard Bindings" in: Book and Paper Group Annual vol. 32 (2013) pp. 58-79, with a bibliography of no less than 32 references.
The present text is the so-called Saybrook Platform, which was "one of the most important books printed in the eighteenth century" (Streeter no. 663, describing the 1710 first edition). It was also essential to the development of the American Puritan church. The Saybrook Platform emphasized rule by *councils* of church leaders, rather than by the individual congregations within themselves. The adoption of the Saybrook Platform resulted in rigid orthodoxy, and effectively made the church in Connecticut a form of Presbyterianism. It is unclear why the Saybrook Platform was reprinted in 1760 (fifty years after the first edition). It is equally unclear why the present volume was given to the Somers Church by one or representatives of "the Colony of Connecticut" -- who were these donors exactly?
Evans 8733. Sabin 15448. Trumbull, "Connecticut" 501. Johnson, "New London" 705. ESTC W30483.