Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2015 Issue

Economics, Politics & Philosophy from Peter Harrington

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Economics, Politics & Philosophy.

Peter Harrington has issued their 115th catalogue, and it is one targeted to the thinking person. The subjects are Economics, Politics & Philosophy. These are weighty topics. Some books were meant for regular folks, like how to improve your economic standing by understanding the stock market, but most required some depth of knowledge to appreciate. Nonetheless, if not meant for the man/woman in the street, the theories expressed had great impact on their lives. You don't have to see the invisible hand to be affected by it. Here are a few of these serious books.

 

We will start with an item that is such a spectacular piece of Americana that we have to mention it, though it will be out of reach of most collectors. How did this end up with a London bookseller? Item 128 is a copy of the Political Debates between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, In the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois... This was the preliminary battle between Lincoln and Douglas, for the Illinois senate seat. The two would meet again two years later for the presidency. Round 1 went Douglas, round 2 to Lincoln. While Lincoln lost the race in Illinois, his debating skills made him a figure to be reckoned with. It was Lincoln's supporters who had this account published in 1860, confident that "hearing" Lincoln's words would work to his favor in the presidential election. This is a first edition, presentation copy, inscribed by Lincoln to his friend Job Fletcher. Fletcher and Lincoln were members of the "Long Nine," the nine representatives from Sangamon County, Illinois, who worked together in 1837 to have the state capitol moved from Vandalia to Springfield, in Sangamon County. They got their name from the fact their average height was for then the very tall measure of six feet (Lincoln did more than his share). The Long Nine may have done some horse trading to secure Springfield as the state capitol, such as supporting internal improvement projects in other legislators' districts in return for their support. That was certainly the belief of one of the move's opponents – Stephen A. Douglas. Priced at £150,000 (British pounds, or approximately $228,000 U.S. dollars).

 

This next one belongs in every collection of the law – Commentaries on the Laws of England, the 1765 first edition of what is commonly known as "Blackstone's Commentaries," by Sir William Blackstone. Harrington notes that it is "the most influential law book ever published." English law was filled with "case law," decisions reached by judges. However, these were many individual decisions. Blackstone weaved it all together to form a coherent whole, so that it made sense. In so doing, he provided guidance as to what would be the appropriate rulings, in accordance with the spirit of the law, in future decisions. While Blackstone's commentaries were on English law, that law, and his commentaries, would naturally be the foundation of American law when those colonies split from England barely a decade later. Item 16. £9,750 (US $14,700).

 

Here is a fascinating legal topic, one I will admit to not having been aware of before. Item 55 is Edward Payson Evans' The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, published in 1906. Harrington describes this as "the first and still authoritative study of the bizarre medieval practice of putting animals (usually domesticated, but also weevils and the like) on trial." In the good old days, domestic animals who injured or killed a person would not just be put down, but could literally be put on trial in a court. Insects, such as weevils and gnats, or vermin like rats would generally be handled by ecclesiastical authorities, as these were actions against a species that was causing harm, rather than an individual. One of the cases described involved a pig who maimed a child in the face as well as killing it. The pig was sentenced to likewise being mangled in the face and then hung from the gallows in front of a crowd, like a …… human. One presumes the pig probably took the Fifth Amendment at his trial and refused to testify. £400 (US $602).

 

Two hundred years later, but these problems are still with us today. Item 83 is Richard Heathfield's Thoughts on the Liquidation of the Public Debt, and on the Relief of the Country from the Distress incident to a Population exceeding the Demand for Labour. This 1829 first edition is bound with a later edition of Heathfield's prior work, Elements of a Plan for the Liquidation of the Public Debt of the United Kingdom. When this book was written, Britain was looking for an answer to debt accumulated during the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars. Heathfield believed that taxes levied on labor to pay the interest and principal on the debt was an intolerable burden on both working people and commerce. He proposed a large levy instead on property, with the major target being wealthy, absentee landlords. He believed that they obtained their wealth through the efforts of labor, so they, not labor, should pay the debt. £ 250 (US $376).

 

William Henry Harrison had a long career in public service, in the military, reaching the rank of General, as Territorial Governor of Indiana, as a representative in the Ohio legislature, and as a Representative and Senator in the federal government. However, what he is mostly remembered for is a very brief episode in his career. He was U.S. President for one month, dying a mere 31 days after taking office in 1841. In 1828, Harrison was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Gran Colombia by President John Quincy Adams. The appointment would last only a little over a year, as newly elected President Andrew Jackson chose to fill the office with a campaign supporter. Harrison did not leave without ruffling some important feathers in his host country. He believed leader Simon Bolivar had aspirations to be a dictator, so Harrison wrote him a lecture on democracy. It was not well received. Bolivar was insulted, and so were the people of Colombia. They sped up his exit. Harrison wrote this defense of his behavior, published in 1830: Remarks of General Harrison, Late Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to the Republic of Colombia, on Certain Charges Made Against Him by that Government. Harrison has inscribed this copy to his "friend," John C. Wright. Wright had served in Congress representing Ohio at the same time as Harrison. Wright was defeated for reelection in 1828, and did not serve in the legislature again. After four years on the Ohio Supreme Court, he worked in law and business the remainder of his life. He died in Washington in early 1861, where the then 77-year-old man was a delegate to the Peace Conference of 1861, a last-ditch effort to hold off the Civil War. Item 75. £27,500 (US $41,385).

 

Peter Harrington may be reached at 020 7591 0220 (USA 011 44 20 7591 0220) or mail@peterharringtonbooks.com. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk or www.peterharringtonbooks.com (for U.S. customers).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <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>

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