Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2013 Issue

18th Century North America from the William Reese Company


18th Century North America.

The 303rd catalogue from New Haven bookseller the William Reese Company is titled 18th-Century North America. There are actually a few items that date from the 17th century, but the great majority of these books, pamphlets, maps, and manuscripts are as advertised. While all of North America is covered, the material is primarily from the United States, or what became the United States, and mostly from the original colonies. There are a few that take us to what is now the Midwest, New Orleans, even the upper Mississippi, but a collection ending at 1800 will not have much pertaining to what we now know as the “West.” The greatest concentration of material comes from the Revolutionary War era, including the years leading up, wartime itself, and the early days of the new nation, as it grappled with devising a constitution and other early concerns. Additionally, there is a substantial representation of the French and Indian War, when America's allies and adversaries were reversed from the days of the Revolution. Here are a few of these interesting and important works.

Not all of the early English settlers of America came to find freedom, at least not in the normal sense. Something in the 50,000-100,000 range came as convicts, subjects of “transportation,” a term more often associated with the settling of Australia. However, despite the seven years of indentured labor they faced, for many it might have been relative freedom from deplorable overcrowded English prisons, and for some, it was an alternative to hanging. Until the early 18th century, transportation was arranged by merchants for whom the prisoners were bound, but in 1719, the process became more formalized with the adoption of the Transportation Act. This standardized the process of shipping felons to America. That act was passed on May 10, 1719, and item 108 is the manifest for what was likely the first such transportation as it is dated May 11. It lists 113 convicts who were being shipped to Maryland. The Americans whom they were to serve paid £10 per man for their seven years of service, cheap labor even by 18th century standards. The document is signed by various officials, including William Greenwood, commander of the ship Margaret that would bring these involuntary settlers to America. Naturally enough, this process came to an end with the Revolution, leading to the use of Australia as a penal colony a few years later. Priced at $12,500.

The French and Indian War effectively ended France's presence in America, turning vast amounts of land in what was then the west (now the midwest) over to England. The Englishman to penetrate the farthest into this territory in the pre-revolutionary days was Jonathan Carver. He hoped to find a route all of the way to the Pacific, though that goal proved to be elusive. Nevertheless, he managed to traverse the Great Lakes region, attain the Mississippi and travel north, branching off on what is today the Minnesota River, reaching the border of today's Dakotas. His account is found in item 32, Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768, published in 1778. He brought back much information about the Indians, relayed Indian reports of a great mountain range he did not see but we now know as the Rocky Mountains, and was the first to mention the word “Oregon,” though naturally he did not reach that place either. $9,000.

While Carver was traipsing across the wild west, things were not going so well on the home front. The British were levying various taxes on the colonists, and the latter were responding in less than a complimentary manner. In 1769, a group of leaked letters back to authorities in London was published in Boston under the title Letters to the Ministry, from Governor Bernard, General Gage, and Commodore Hood... Massachusetts Governor Bernard expressed his strong views on stamping out dissent in Boston. Who leaked this material is unknown, but these letters were not the sort of thing that would please already unhappy colonists. It was another step towards the revolution now only a few years away. Item 16. $3,500.

Item 31 is an unlikely early call for American independence: American Independence the Interest and Glory of Great Britain... The author was not an American but an Englishman, John Cartwright. He had been an officer in the Royal Navy and was now a notable social reformer. When this item was first published in 1774, not even the more radical Americans were yet calling for independence. However, Cartwright already realized a union based on colonial domination was not going to work long term. He advocated independence, which could then be followed with a loose union that would be beneficial to both sides. As we now know, his calls fell on deaf ears, to England's detriment. Offered is a copy of the first American edition, printed in Philadelphia in 1776. $9,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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 Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.

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