Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2010 Issue

Important Antiquarian Books from Peter Harrington

Harrington70

Exceptional works from Peter Harrington.


By Michael Stillman

Peter Harrington Antiquarian Bookseller has issued Catalogue 70, a collection of impressive works relating to economics, politics, history, law, medicine, philosophy and science, as well as other early printed books. The catalogue starts with 14 particularly notable "featured items," but the remainder of the 177 items offered are also of more than passing significance. Harrington specializes in important works and this catalogue fits the bill. Here are a few of these books.

Item 4 is a great work, but it is the provenance of this copy that makes it far more remarkable. The book is The French Revolution: a History, by Thomas Carlyle, a first American edition from 1838. Carlyle wrote this book at the urging of John Stuart Mill, after the latter determined he did not have the time to complete such a work himself. Famously, Mill's maid burned the only draft of the first volume, mistaking it for garbage, thereby forcing Carlyle to rewrite it. Carlyle presents a history of that revolution in what was then an unorthodox manner, retelling events more as a participant or witness than traditional historian. This American edition was funded and promoted by a great admirer and friend of Carlyle on the western side of the Pond - Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson's promotion of the book made it a success in America, and provided Carlyle with some badly needed financial stability. It was while Emerson was promoting this work that he first met Henry David Thoreau, who would also become a good friend (Emerson was a friendly person). Emerson was something of a mentor, encouraging the young and then unknown Thoreau to write articles for a magazine, Emerson then pressing the publisher to print them. This copy of Carlyle's work is inscribed by Emerson to Thoreau. The two would exchange numerous books in the years to come, though some were not inscribed, and at most three came from Emerson in the early years of their friendship (prior to 1840). Priced at £135,000 (British pounds, or approximately $203,882 in U.S. currency).

Item 121 offers a contemporary opinion about a specific event during the French Revolution, by a once ardent supporter who, like so many others, became its victim. Americans remember Thomas Paine for his fervent support of the American Revolution, but he was equally enthusiastic about the French one, at least for a time. His strong promotion of democratic institutions in France antagonized the British, but managed to get Paine elected to the French legislature, though he spoke little of the language. However, events quickly rushed past the radical Paine, turning him into a conservative by revolutionary standards. Offered is a copy of the Opinion de Thomas Payne [sic]...Concernant Le Jugement de Louis XVI... (bound together with two other works). Paine had favored the complete overthrow of the monarchy, rather than the constitutional monarchy of 1791. However, when that overthrow occurred in 1792, Paine did not agree with the assembly that King Louis XVI should be beheaded. This is Paine's speech calling for the King to be exiled to America instead, where he would have been welcomed as a supporter of the American Revolution. Instead of saving Louis, the plea almost got Paine beheaded too. There was no sentimentality in the French Revolution. He was imprisoned, and saved from execution only because he was accidentally overlooked when his time came, enabling him to survive long enough to escape the Reign of Terror. £3,000 (US $4,529).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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