Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2017 Issue

Obscure Paper and Books from Long Ago Offered by Samuel Gedge, Ltd.

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XXIV.

Samuel Gedge Ltd. has issued their Catalogue XXIV. There is no further title nor description and I think I understand why. These items are very hard to describe. There are many centuries-old documents and ephemeral items that make you wonder how did this piece ever survive? Papers representing business and personal transactions, rules, personal notes, posters, items rare if not unique when they were first created so long ago. Gedge has somehow managed to find them. That is not to say there are no books here. Gedge also has some 18th and 19th century novels, books long forgotten but appealing to readers of another era. There is even a 1770 French translation of an English novel, The Point of Honor, of which the French version appears to be the only one that has survived. This is certainly an eclectic mix of material and a fascinating look at times of the distance past. Here are a few examples.

 

We begin with a land grant that will entitle you to 30 acres in the "Poyaisian Republic." Good luck finding the place. It is one of many such grants created by one of the greatest confidence schemes in history. It is dated April 5, 1834, and signed by Gregor MacGregor. MacGregor had served in the British army, then joined the fight for independence in Venezuela, earning himself friends in Latin America. His scheme began with supposedly securing 8 million acres of land along the Mosquito Coast of Honduras from King Frederick Augustus. Frederick Augustus was a native "king," but with no power. Nevertheless, MacGregor used this grant to sell parcels of land that he described as idyllic, but were little more than swamps and jungle over which he had no control. A lot of Englishmen went for it, some investing their life savings. Some even went to settle their lands, many dying from disease before the others returned. Still, MacGregor was able to continue the scheme for many years, at one time moving on to France when sales declined. It would not be until 1838, 18 years after it all started, that MacGregor hightailed it to Venezuela, where he was still regarded as a hero. Item 65. Priced at £450 (British pounds, or about $574 in U.S. dollars).

 

Item 1 is Rules and Regulations to be Observed in the Convict Establishment. The "convict establishment" was the prison hulks, old ships at port that were used to house Britain's overflowing prison population. Most of the convicts inhabiting these hulks were destined for transportation out of country, to Australia or other places where the English would no longer have to deal with them. These rules were promulgated in 1840 by John Henry Clapper, then the Superintendent. The rules cover all aspects of prison life, covering the roles of various personnel, daily routines, transfers, visitation, and timing of watch staff. A volvelle (one of those spinning paper dials) enables each numbered watch to determine its duties on that day. Hulks were used from 1776 until 1857 to house prisoners. £2,500 (US $3,192).

 

Item 72 is a printed souvenir in German for Clara, a touring rhinoceros. It would have come from 1746-48 when Clara toured Germany, one of many European countries she visited from 1741-1758. Clara was adopted by a Dutch East India Co. executive after her mother was killed by a hunter, and taken to the Netherlands in 1741. Rhinoceroses were a rarity in Europe in those days, not something found in zoos, so crowds would come out to see such a strange looking animal. This broadside contains a large picture of Clara along with some German copy. Clara died in London in 1758, approximate age 20. £950 (US $1,211).

 

Item 108 is a touching broadside poem To The People Of America from the children of the Wigton School in Cumberland, England, circa 1830. By this time, slavery was long since outlawed in England and was about to be ended in all of its colonies. The emotional words, directed toward the southern states where slavery still reigned, would seemingly touch any human heart. The poem begins:

 

Ye people of America,

So far beyond the wave,

O listen to our earnest prayer,

and liberate the slave!

 

It goes on to speak of the "torturing lash," women's cries of fear, blood mingled with the soil, families torn apart in human auction sales. Sadly, America did not listen to these British schoolchildren's prayer, and paid a heavy price for it. £350 (US $446).

 

Item 41 provides a look at what it was like traveling around Britain in the late 18th and early 19th century. It is a collection of 20 printed bills from various inns dated 1784-1830. Many provide lists of food and drink offered, services available. Some drinks would be hard to find today, such as negus (Gedge tells us it's a mixture of port, hot water, and spices) and bumbo (rum, water, sugar and nutmeg). Services available included "horses hay and corn," "carriage greasing," "paper, cards and postage," "pipes and tobacco," and "servants eating and ale." The fact that offerings were available to servants, and we will presume the quality was not the same as that offered guests, indicates that these were places for travelers of means. No Motel 6's here. £2,500 (US $3,189).

 

Item 12 is a scroll consisting of two conjoined sheets To The Honorable Sir John Shore Bart, from 1798. Bart was leaving his job as Governor-General of Bengal in India and 198 residents of Calcutta wanted to thank him and wish him well. It is a who's who of the most important people of Calcutta at the time, and each has signed the note. While the text describes them as "British inhabitants of Calcutta," there are signatures of several notable foreigners on the list too. £2,750 (US $3,509).

 

Samuel Gedge Ltd. Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)1263 768 471 or rarebooks@samuelgedge.com. Their website is www.samuelgedge.com.

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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Cartwright (George). <i>A Journal of Transactions and Events, during a Residence of nearly Sixteen Years on the Coast of Labrador...,</i> first edition, with A.L.s. from the author, 1792. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Swift (Jonathan). <i>Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World,</i> 2 vol., first edition, Teerink's "A" edition, Printed for Benj. Motte, 1726. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Fourier (Jean Baptiste Joseph). <i>Theorie Analytique de la Chaleur,</i> first edition, Paris, chez Firmin Didot, 1822. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Boccaccio (Giovanni). <i>Genealogiae Deorum,</i> additions by Dominicus Silvester and Raphael Zovenzonius, Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1472. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Mary I. Letter signed at the head "Marye the Quene" to Lord Paget, 1 page, 7th June 1556. The recall from exile of nine persons opposed to the Marian regime. £10,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Nelson (Horatio). Autograph Letter signed "Horatio Nelson" and written to Francis Drake, British Minister at Genoa, discussing the disposition of his "Cruizers" near Genoa. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Darwin (Charles). Unpublished Autograph Letter signed to Walter Raleigh Browne, playing down his scientific knowledge of comparative anatomy, 1881. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Murphew (J.). <i>The fair in an uproar, or, the dancing-doggs.</i> As they perform in Mr. Pinkeman's New Opera in Bartholomew Fair, 1707. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Chaucer (Geoffrey). <i>The Workes,</i> by [Nicholas Hill for] Thomas Petit, dwellyng in Paules churche yarde at the sygne of the Maydens heed, 1550. £7,000 to £10,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Austen (Jane). <i>Emma: A Novel,</i> 3 vol., first edition, 1816. £7,000 to £10,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>Stamboul Train,</i> first edition, first issue, 1932. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Churchill.- Fearon (Percy Hutton) "Poy". “Eat More Beef,” pen and ink cartoon with shading in blue pencil, [July 1928]. £400 to £600

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