• <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>The Tragedie of Julius Caesar.</i> London, 1623. 1st appearance in print, Complete from the First Folio. Sold for $175,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <b>Sotheby’s London: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental and Russian Books.<br>July 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s London, July 3:</b> The Breviary of Marie (1344-1404), Duchess of Bar, Daughter of Bonne of Luxembourg and King John II (the Good) of France, Franciscan Use, in Latin with a few rubrics in French [France (Paris), c.1360]. £500,000 to £700,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London, July 3:</b> John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew’s Gospel, in Greek [Byzantine Empire (Constantinople), late 9th century]. £200,000 to £300,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London, July 3:</b> Bible, with prologues and interpretations of Hebrew Names, in Latin [France (Paris), c.1250]. £80,000 to £120,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental and Russian Books.<br>July 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s London, July 3:</b> Euclides. Elementa Geometriae [Translated by Adelardus Bathoniensis, Edited by Johannes Campanus]. Vicenza: Leonardus Achates de Basilea and Guilielmus de Papia, [13 May Or 20 June] 1491. £40,000 to £60,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London, July 3:</b> Apocalypsis Sancti Johannis. Single Leaf from a Block Book [Schreiber's Edition III]. [The Netherlands, C. 1465-1470]. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London, July 3:</b> Seneca, Lucius Annaeus. Opera Philosophica. Epistolae [Edited by Blasius Romerus]. Treviso: Bernardus De Colonia, 1478. £20,000 to £30,000
  • <b>Sotheby’s Online, June 18 - 28:</b> Lewis, Meriwether, and William Clark. <i>History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, To the Sources of the Missouri…</i> 1814, first edition. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, June 18 - 28:</b> Poe, Edgar Allan. <i>Tales.</i> New York: Wiley And Putnam, 1845. First edition, first printing, first issue. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, June 18 - 28:</b> Dürer, Albrecht, and Johann Stabius. [Map of the World as a Sphere.] [Vienna,] 1781 (From Woodblocks Cut In 1515). $120,000 to $180,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, June 18 - 28:</b> Ferdinand, Franz — Lala Deen Dayal [Photographer]. VISIT OF H.I. & H.R. THE ARCHDUKE FRANZ FERDINAND OF AUSTRIA ESTE TO HYDERABAD (DECCAN), JANUARY 1893. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Online, June 18 - 28:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Manuscript Letter Signed ("Yours Truly A. Lincoln") as Sixteenth President to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles Regarding William Johnson. $200,000 to $300,000

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2017 Issue

Chastellux’s Voyages: An Aristocrat in America.

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The "bizarre" edition.

Like many “generous aristocrats1”, the well-born Marquis de Chastellux went to America in 1780 to fight on the side of the insurgents during the War of Independence (1775-1783). There he became acquainted with George Washington and other important figures of the conflict—including Jefferson. The letters he wrote to his friends on this occasion were printed without his consent in Europe, not only because they gave pertinent pieces of information on a newly born country, but also because the sarcastic wit of Monsieur le Marquis was irresistible—and sometimes dramatic.

 

 

Chastellux’s voyages in America is a classic; not only of travel books, but also in American history. According to latest French edition (Tallandier, 1980), “the Americans (...) see it as the most fundamental book about their origins.” I knew the common Prault edition of 1786 in 2 volumes, but was unaware of the peculiar story of this book until I came across an intriguing edition: a 136-page in-8° volume with no engravings—whereas the Prault edition comes with 2 maps and 3 plates. Yet, the last page reading the crucial word Fin, it was consequently complete. This bizarre edition entitled Voyage de M. le Chevalier de Chastellux, en Amérique was printed in 1786, in Paris, and sold at Le Francq’s, in Brussels, Belgium. I started to investigate, and with the help of my best man, Detective Google, I soon found another copy, sold at an auction in 2015. The expert had described it as “extracts” from the Voyages du marquis de Chastellux, adding: “The authorized version was published the same year in two volumes by Prault.” Was my bizarre edition a pirate best of, then? Another bookseller also mentioned the “ultra-rare Newport edition of 1781” as well as “a 1785 issue.” So, this would be the third—and unauthorized—edition of the Voyages of Chastellux?

 

In their literary correspondence, Grimm and Diderot mention the “ultra-rare edition” of 1781. Entitled Voyage de Newport à Philadelphie, Albany, etc., it was printed “Á Newport, de l’imprimerie royale de l’escadre.” It is an in-4° volume of 188 pages. Chastellux did three voyages on the margins of his official assignment. The first ones, between 1780 and 1781, took him to Newport, Philadelphia or Rhode Island; during the last one, the following year, he visited Virginia and Pennsylvania. The “ultra-rare edition” contains the relation of the first two voyages. “Twenty-four copies only (or 27 according to Barbier, Charles Evans and The Warden Catalogue) were printed, and the National Library of France owns one of the six or seven copies which, according to Chastellux himself, ever reached Europe. Nine only are today listed worldwide—seven belong to public libraries, and two to private collections,” writes Jacques Jourquin in his authoritative foreword to the Tallandier edition (1980). About the fantastical mention printed on board of the royal squadron, he says: “This was a small squadron of six or seven ships, (...) which also printed a short-lived Gazette française (...). It was conveniently located ashore, in Newport.”

 

In 1785, a new edition of Chastellux’s voyages was anonymously printed in Cassel (228 pages). “It is not, as some bibliographers—who had never seen it—claimed, a reprint of the original Newport edition,” underlines Jacques Jourquin, “but the collection of extracts from both the original edition and the manuscript of the second voyage.” An unscrupulous bookseller collected them from Grimm’s Cahiers de lecture, printed in Gotha, Germany. The foreword to the Prault edition explains: “One of (Chastellux’s) friends (...) convinced him to publish some detached parts of his (second voyage) in a periodical printed in Gotha (...). He agreed, and some letters were regularly given to the public for a full year’s time (1784—editor’s note). These extracts were indifferently taken from the first and the second voyages, in no chronological order so that no one could compile them and sell them as a complete book. Experience proved these precautions insufficient.”

 

Jourquin adds that there are two versions of the Cassel edition, which only differ from their respective sizes and numbers of pages—the text being similar. “This incomplete and ill put together book was yet so successful that it was twice reprinted, first in Paris and then in Brussels, at B. Le Francq’s.” Bingo! Our bizarre edition was thus the second one, illegally reprinted from the Cassel one! It was also translated into German and twice printed, in Hamburg and Leipzig, in 1786. “Convinced by those successive editions of the interest sparked by his writings,” Jourquin resumes, “and fearing to see those incorrect editions spread, the author resolved to put out an integral version in 1786, at Prault’s (...). It features the first two voyages as well as the third one, the latter being by then totally original.” In 1788, Prault reprinted the first volume under supervision of Chastellux, “who died the same year.” (Jourquin). The second volume of this revised version didn’t come out before 1791. The book was also translated into English in 1787 (London), but wasn’t published in the US until 1827—augmented with 15 letters of George Washington. “And then, there was silence,” Jourquin deplores.

 

What’s so exciting about this reading is the way these letters were written—in complete liberty. Liaising Rochambeau and Washington’s armies, Chastellux met some key figures of the war of independence, and his portrait of Washington—intimate and genuine—, is fascinating. But even more fascinating are his remarks on various aspects of the ill known American every day life. Food, accommodation, natural history, characters of his hosts, nothing escapes the hawk eye of our aristocrat. There’s, furthermore, something captivating in his ability to describe people with a handful of acute words—and a touch of aristocratic scorn. Born in 1734 in a noble family, Chastellux grew up among famous people, including Buffon. He enrolled at 15 and turned to literature after the Seven Years’ war. “He was close to the Encyclopaedists like Helvetius, d’Alembert or Turgot, who warmly welcomed such a recruit,” writes the Duke of Castries in his foreword to the Tallandier edition (1980). He became close friend with David Hume, then secretary of the Ambassador of England in Paris, and when he published his essay De La Félicité Publique... (Amsterdam, 1772), Voltaire, “who didn’t mind flattering a powerful man,” (Castries), praised it beyond reason. In 1775, Chastellux even became a member of the prestigious Académie Française, and went to America with the army of Rochambeau 5 years later. He was what French people call a “bon vivant”—he enjoyed the good things in life, including women to whom he dedicates an extraordinary passage of his book, comparing American and French women. Aged 53, he married a young Irish beauty and died after a few months “of a warm relationship, which probably exhausted him.” (Castrie)

1Voyages dans l’Amérique septentrionale... (Tallandier, 1980).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <center><b>TIMED ONLINE AUCTION<br>June 11 - 25, 2018</b></center>
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> ACCADEMIA ERCOLANENSE DI ARCHEOLOGIA. <i>Ornati delle Pareti</i>, Naples 1796. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> AMERICAS. <i>Il Gazzettiere Americano…</i>, Livorno, 1763. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> BARROW, John. <i>Travels in China…</i>, London, 1804. £600 to £800
    <center><b>TIMED ONLINE AUCTION<br>June 11 - 25, 2018</b></center>
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> BENOIST, Felix. <i>Album de L'Ile de Jersey</i>…, Paris & Nantes, 1870. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> GAIL, Wilhelm. <i>Erinnerungen aus Spanien,</i> Munchen, [ca. 1837]. £1,800 to £2,200
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> HANCARVILLE, Pierre d'. <i>Recherches sur l'origine…,</i> London, Appleyard, 1785. £1,5000 to £2,000
    <center><b>TIMED ONLINE AUCTION<br>June 11 - 25, 2018</b></center>
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> HULLEY, T. <i>Six Views of Cheltenham.</i> London, R. Ackerman, 1813. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> JEFFERSON, Thomas. <i>Notes on the state of Virginia</i>…, London, 1787. £12,000 to £18,000
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> LEWIS, John F. <i>Lewis's illustrations of Constantinople…,</i> London, McLean, 1837. £3,000 to £4,000
    <center><b>TIMED ONLINE AUCTION<br>June 11 - 25, 2018</b></center>
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> MARQUARD, Johann. <i>Tractatus politico-juridicus,</i> Frankfurt, 1662. £1,800 to £2,200
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> MAUND, Benjamin. <i>The botanic garden,</i> London, 1825-42. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, Jun 11 - 25:</b> Willughby, Francis; John Ray (ed.). <i>Ornithologiæ libri tres</i>. London, John Martyn, 1676. £1,500 to £2,000

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