Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2013 Issue

American Books and Pamphlets from David Lesser Antiquarian Books

Lesser132

American books, pamphlets, and ephemera.

David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books recently published No.132 of Rare Americana. Lesser mostly focuses on pamphlets and other shorter form material pertaining to 18th and 19tth century America. This time, however, we find many longer, book-length items offered. The subjects are similar – American history mostly from revolutionary times to Reconstruction (with a few items on each side of that range), but many are thicker than usual. Here are some examples from this latest selection.

We will start with a sermon that must have taken a fair amount of courage to deliver. Rev. Charles Turner was not wanting for the same. Item 148 is A Sermon Preached Before His Excellency Thomas Hutchinson, Esq., Governor...of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New England, May 26th, 1773. Hutchinson was Massachusetts' loyalist Governor, a man who came to be despised by his subjects. He supported the Crown at every turn against the colonists, including the myriad of taxes and regulations imposed upon them from afar. He would be driven by the colonists back to Britain a year after this sermon. In his speech, Rev. Turner did not hold back, though he surely knew this would not please his notable guest. He asserts that the people have an “unalienable right” to determine their own form of government, and that the privileges of the British constitution they formerly enjoyed have been “inhumanly murdered.” Turner adds, “How distressing the thought of being slaves, how charming that of being free!” Though beloved by his Duxbury congregation, Turner resigned his post a year later citing health issues and completion of his mission, but would go on to serve in the conventions that accepted the state and federal constitutions, and later headed off to retirement in Maine. Priced at $500.

There were few more notable feuds among America's founders than that between fellow Federalists John Adams and Alexander Hamilton. Not even Adams' legendary rivalry with Jefferson, or Hamilton's with Aaron Burr that eventually cost him his life in a duel, could quite match this one. There was certainly a split in their opinions on how to react to French intrigues during Adams' presidency, Hamilton itching for war, Adams seeking to avoid it. However, this rivalry was based more on personalities than policies. Adams was an obstinate, unbending man who took orders from no one. Hamilton was self-assured and believed Adams should bend to his influence. The result was this rivalry between the Federalist party's two major forces would soon lead to the party's demise. In 1800, when President Adams sought reelection, Hamilton wrote a lengthy letter tearing him to pieces, though ending with a reluctant, pro forma endorsement. Meanwhile, he connived behind the scenes to get the Federalist vice-presidential nominee, Charles Pinckney, selected over Adams. In his letter, Hamilton writes such words about Adams as “there are great and intrinsic defects in his character, which unfit him for the office of Chief Magistrate,” and that Adams has “a vanity without bounds, and a jealousy capable of discoloring every object.” Undoubtedly there was much truth to this, though the same could be said about Hamilton. When Jefferson's supporters got a hold of this letter, meant only for fellow Federalists, they published it. It was instrumental in defeating Adams in the 1800 election, and effectively destroying the Federalist Party. Item 55 is the Letter from Alexander Hamilton, Concerning the Public Conduct and Character of John Adams,published in 1800. $850.

The airing of the Hamilton-Adams dirty laundry in public was momentous, this next one pedestrian. This is really not the type of stuff one should be publishing for the world to see, but evidently some public accusations had been made against Rev. Henry Whipple, Pastor of the Episcopal Church in Galena, Illinois. He had no choice but to respond. Whipple married Emma Weigley in 1862. She felt he treated her badly and ran back to her father's home the following year. The caption title to this brief work sums up the Reverend's response: To the members of the R.R. [Rock River] Conference...Dear Brethren: Most gladly would I have averted so terrible a calamity as that which has befallen my family, but it was not in my power. And, in view of the final judgment, I can truly say, no man ever more sincerely and affectionately offered terms of peace and reconciliation than I have to my mistaken and erring wife... We do not know whether his “erring” wife ever saw the error of her ways. Item 155. $350.

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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