Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2012 Issue

Civil War Material from the William Reese Company

Reesebull28

The Civil War.

The William Reese Company has published their Bulletin 28: The Civil War. This is a selection of 32 items pertaining to that awful intramural skirmish, a terrible price paid to save the Union and rid it of the greatest stain on its character – slavery. Surely, there must have been a better way to accomplish this necessary goal, but unfortunately, cooler heads did not prevail. This collection includes books, maps, illustrations, manuscript letters and drawings, certificates, archives, and broadsides. Here are a few of these.

Item 32 is a rare copy of the final draft of the Confederate Constitution. We don't often think of such issues during the middle of war, but the constitutional laws and protections of the United States went out the window as far as the Confederate government was concerned. They had to quickly draft their own version, which was mostly based on that of the United States. There were some differences. This Constitution does more to protect the sovereignty of the individual states vis-a-vis the confederate government. It prohibits the use of federal funds for making internal improvements to facilitate commerce, other than certain small exceptions pertaining to rivers and harbors. It also prohibits taxes on foreign goods to promote any branch of industry, a tip of the hat to southern resentment of tariffs supported by the North to protect northern industry. The Confederate Constitution provided for a single, six-year term for the President. However, the major differences, as one would expect, pertain to slavery. Its immutable character is clearly spelled out. It states that no “law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed,” that the property right in slaves shall not be impaired by traveling to a different state, and all new states that join the Confederacy must permit slavery. It specifies “negro slavery,” “negro slaves,” and “negroes of the African race,” racial specificity not made in the U.S. Constitution, just to be clear. One hundred copies of this final draft were authorized to be printed, but only five copies are known today. Priced at $175,000.

Item 4 is an archive of manuscript material of a prominent early Texan, George Washington Smyth. Smyth went to Texas and worked as a land surveyor for Mexican authorities. However, he later joined up with those seeking independence for Texas. Smyth was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was involved in writing the state constitution, and supported union with the United States. During the 1850s he served one term as a Congressman but declined to seek reelection. Smyth, like Sam Houston, was a strong opponent of secession, and among the items here is a manuscript copy of a speech he gave on July 4, 1860, expressing his opposition. He believed secession to be illegal. However, after Texas seceded the following year, he did support the Confederacy. $15,000.

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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