Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2012 Issue

Travel from Bestebreurtje Rare Books

Tipucornwallis

Cornwallis accepts child hostage.

 Item 82 is an account of a trip to the Middle East taken in style on a private yacht, Souvenirs, impressions, pensees et paysages pendant un voyage en orient 1832-1833. Alphonse de Lamartine was born of reasonable means, though not great wealth, his wife of even better means. In the 1820s, Lamartine was a popular poet in France, as well as a holder of mid-level government positions. All told, it enabled him to embark on this trip with his wife and daughter, and bear gifts for his hosts, earning him the name of “the Emir of France.” Unfortunately, his daughter died while visiting Lebanon. After his return, Lamartine wrote this account, published in 1835. Though already 45 years old by this time, his days of most prolific writing, and political significance, were still ahead. He wrote many prose works in the following years, including one on the Girondists of the French Revolution that gained him attention at the time of the Revolution of 1848. For a brief time, he led the provisional French government in the spring of that year. However, events moved quickly and Lamartine (and perhaps no one) could keep all of the factions happy at that time. He quickly lost power, and during the elections held that December, won only a handful of votes. His political career was over, and in the years ahead his writing style became less popular. By the time he died in 1869, Lamartine was widowed and broke. €225 (US $302).

Item 41 is a hand-colored mezzotint of Tippoo Saibs Two Sons Delivered up to Lord Cornwallis, as Hostages after he had so Gloriously Conquered that Proud Sultan... It was printed in 1792, at the conclusion of the Third Mysore War (there were four of them). After the first two had produced little change, this battle between England and the English East India Company against Mysore (on the Indian subcontinent) was a British victory. The ruler of Mysore, Tipu Sultan, was forced to give up half of his territory, pay compensation to the East India Company, and turn over two of his sons as hostages to insure the treaty was carried out. And yes, Americans, that is the same Lord Cornwallis who lost the Battle of Yorktown a decade earlier, sealing America's victory in its revolution against British rule. Taking children as hostages is probably what we would expect of him. €875 (US $1,177).

Gert Jan Bestebreurtje Rare Books may be reached at +31 (0)347 322 548 or info@gertjanbestebreurtje.com. Their website is www.gertjanbestebreurtje.com.

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