James Cummins Latest Catalogue<br>Covers a Variety of Material
By Michael Stillman
James Cummins Bookseller offers catalogues covering a wide range of material, and Catalogue 88 is no exception. However, this catalogue does include a particularly strong collection of Americana, covering subjects both political and literary.
Item 11 is Edmund Burke’s An Account of the European Settlements in America. In Six Parts… The six parts include a short history of the discovery of the new world, manner and customs of the native inhabitants, and settlements of the Spanish, Portuguese, French-Dutch-Danish, and English. This third edition from 1760 is an important contemporary account of America. According to Howes, it was actually written by William rather than Edmund Burke. Priced at $1,250.
Item 16 is the diary and certain letters of Francis Butler, a Union chaplain during the Civil War. Butler writes of the difficult conditions faced by the soldiers and his hopes for successful outcomes to the battles ahead. On September 23, 1862, he wrote about the Emancipation Proclamation. “Pres. Lincoln has issued his Proclamation, declaring that the slaves of all states…found in rebellion 1st jan. 1863 shall be thenceforth forever free. The Lord be praised…” While saying he would “fight to the death against secession,” he also welcomed reconciliation. “May our unhappy Southern brethren renounce their foolish course & we once more become one.” Sadly, for Butler it proved to be a fight to the death. On May 3, 1863, he was fatally wounded, dying the following day. $6,500.
Another piece of Civil War memorabilia, but one that strikes up major controversy still today, is found in item 101. This isn’t a written or printed work, but it is an interesting item of Americana. This is a Jefferson Davis association early version of the Confederate flag. It looks more like the American flag, with its three red and white bars and a blue field with stars, than it does like a Confederate flag. The flag is mounted on a paper sheet with Davis’ signature. $7,500.