Watmough, Edmund Carmick
Scribblings and Sketches, Diplomatic, Piscatory, and Oceanic By a Fisher in Small Streams
Second Revised Edition
C. Sherman, Printer
Signed by Author
Autograph; 189 pages; Publisher's brown ribbed cloth, covers decoratively stamped in blind in a floral pattern, spine lettered in gilt. A charming book, of particular interest to the collector of angling literature. Issued under the pseudonym: "A Fisher in Small Streams" -- the book has been attributed variously to William Linn Brown or E. C. Watmough. Authorities are mostly settled on the latter, but references are divided as to whether Mr. Watmough was named "Edward Coxe" or "Edmund Carmick" Watmough. As luck would have it, the present copy represents the gold standard of evidence in such manners. It has been inscribed contemporarily to publication with a full signature and the assertion of authorship. It is inscribed in ink on the front free endpaper: "Presented to Rev. / Fredk. S. Wiley - / by the author / Edmd. C. Watmough." In addition, at the end of the Preface, under the printed concluding words: "THE AUTHOR" there is the clear pencil signature "Edmd. C. Watmough." Case closed. The angling content has been described by Henry P. Bruns (Angling Books of the Americas) as "A strange little book...but the 32pp. 'Letters from Isaac Walton' place it in number one importance to the angling book collector." The rest of the content is quite miscellaneous. There is a chapter entitled: "Scenes and Incidents between Home and China." Along these same lines, the book is purportedly dedicated to the Emperor of China. But it should be noted that Watmough addresses this dedication to "His most Celestial Majesty Kiang-Foo, Emperor of China. And Brother to the Sun and Moon." As it happens, the real Daoguang Emperor, the sixth Qing Emperor (1820-1850) had various names, but none resemble "Kiang-Foo." But it should be noted that a form of that name was very much in the news concerning China and its trade in the 1840s. The last major battle of the First Opium War took place on 21 July 1842 as the British forces took Chin-kiang-Foo on the Yangtze River. This "dedication" includes a short couplet in English transliteration ascribed to Confucius - but I cannot find evidence that these syllables represent any sort of Chinese language, classic or otherwise. In the "Preface" following the dedication, Edmund Watmough removes his tongue slightly from his cheek, addressing the reader about this unusual dedication. He denies that his intention was to receive a "cumshaw" or present from the Emperor, for the honour done him... "Though if the Emperor were to send me a very handsome present, in the shape of tea, silks, or even crockery, I frankly confess I should feel myself bound to accept it. Another chapter is called "Steam Against Sails, or Coming Events Cast Their Shadows Before." This examines a "Battle between a First-rate Man-of-War and a Steamer, in the year 1845. (The book was published in 1844). Further content illustrates why this book merited inclusion in Wright, American Fiction [See Wright I-2680]. There are two pieces set in or around Cuba, and it should be noted that the author's youngest child, a daughter, is recorded as having been born in Havana. An interesting book. At least the problem of authorship should be put to rest by the two inscriptions in this copy. The binding is clean, with some original sheen and freshness intact. There is chipping and loss to the cap and tail of the spine, light wear at the points of the corners, and some foxing and toning to the leaves throughout. With an institutional bookplate noting donation by the recipient of the inscription, but no other marks (besides the two inscriptions by the author) or stigmata of institutional ownership. Rev. FREDERICK S. WILEY was formerly assistant pastor of St. Ann's Church, Brooklyn. Subsequently he went to Philadelphia, then returned to New-York, where he was one of the ministers of Grace Church for a number of years and rector of Christ Church (1855-62). He died in Florence, Italy in 1864. ; Signed by Author; Experience the pleasure of reading and appreciating this actual printed item. It has its own physical history that imbues it with a character lacking in ephemeral electronic renderings.