Very Good. Item #5917
New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1850. First Edition, First Printing with all points present except for terminal 6pp publisher's advertisements removed by contemporary binder [BAL 13662].
Octavo; [ix] + 465pp. Half leather with raised spine bands; gilt stamping on spine. Marbled boards (small-combed, marine colors) match the marbled endpapers. Leather-to-marble boundaries tooled. Binder's label on front pastedown: "W.S. Barber, Bookbinder, 22 High Street, Brooklyn, L[ong] I[sland]."
Front panel, joint and hinge have been repaired, neatly, with similar leather and paper. Marbling on panels scraped; leather edges and corners slightly abraded; triangle of leather (about 1/2") missing from spine crown. First three leaves of textblock repaired with archival tape. Top edges of first 36pp torn (1/4" to 1 1/4"), around a small brown liquid stain; seemingly torn while separating pages after staining accident; most tears closed; text on these 36 pages is whole.
"White-Jacket" is a somewhat more family-oriented fictionalized memoir than Melville's "Redburn" of the previous year. It has a famous passage on what sailors read aboard ship, including volumes that are “slightly physiological in their nature.” And it is in "White-Jacket" that we find Melville's noted political truth: "That potentate who most condescends, mark him well; for that potentate, if occasion come, will prove your uttermost tyrant."