Privateer, Counterfeiter, Rogue, and Schoolteacher

Memoirs of Stephen Burroughs. To which is added, Notes, and an Appendix.

Albany: Published by B.D. Packard, No. 51 State-Street. R. Packard, Printer, 1811.

Price: $1,000.00


About the item

First edition of both parts together, with additions. iv, [5]-248; 148pp. 1 vols. 8vo. Privateer, Counterfeiter, Rogue, and Schoolteacher. Contemporary mottled sheep, red leather title label. Sabin 9466; American Imprints 22445; Howes B1022.

Item #365675

Notable account of an American scoundrel. Stephen Burroughs (1765-1840) was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, enlisted in the army at age 14. He soon deserted and was then admitted to Dartmouth College in 1781. He got into trouble, negected his studies, and left before he was expelled. He went to Newburyport and joined a privateering vessel, later posing as a ship's physician. Returning ashore, he took up teaching, assumed the duties of a Congregationalist minister for six months in Pelham, Mass., whereupon he was arrested for counterfeiting. He escaped from Northampton jail by burning it down; was recaptured, imprisoned at Castle Rock, and again escaped. He fled to Canada and led a counterfeiting ring; shortly thereafter he reformed, converted to Catholicism, and retired to the life of teaching.

"One of the great criminal autobiographies, and an important piece of picaresque Americana" (Streeter). "The memoirs of a notorious swindler and con man, and one of the first such confessional works published in the United States" (Reese).

The first edition was published by two different publishers in two different locations six years apart (Hanover, NH:1798 and Boston:1804). An abbreviated edition was published in Otsego in 1810, followed by the present edition which included both volumes as well as additions never before published. A fine copy in a nice contemporary American binding.