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Monday, May 29, 2017

Israel Potter in Portland, Maine

The Christian Mirror was a Congregational weekly newspaper, edited and published in Portland, Maine by Asa Cummings. From the Christian Mirror, April 17, 1855; found in the online archives of Historical Newspapers at Genealogy Bank:

Christian Mirror - April 17, 1855

LITERARY NOTICES.

Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile. 
This new work of Melville contains much to excite and gratify curiosity. Its hero had his birth on the mountains of Berkshire, and was inured to hardness by labor and deprivations incident to new settlers. At 18, deeming himself harshly treated by his father, he ran away, became a trapper, and at length with the avails of his furs purchased a lot of land, which with improvements he sold in a year or two; and soon after we find him in the battle of Bunker Hill, and afterwards at sea, and then a captive in England--escaping from his captors, and using such means as he could to retain his liberty working out for such light compensation as he could get, at one time in the garden of George III, who discovered his Yankee lineage, but did not betray him--was found out by some men of distinction, who were opposed to the war on the colonies, and sent by them on a confidential message to Dr. Franklin, then at Paris: afterwards with Paul Jones in sundry expeditions around the coast of England and Scotland. What portion of this book is true history, and what were embellishments, we know not; but there is little danger that it will not be read.
Two weeks before (April 3, 1855), the Christian Mirror had described Melville's Israel Potter as "Beautifully executed." This brief but favorable mention of Melville's new book appeared with similar notices of volumes just received.

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