• Bonhams, June 25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. $200,000 - $300,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Gersdorff, Hans Von. 1455-1529. Feldtbuch der wundartzney. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Pare, Ambroise. C.1509-1590. La Methode Curative des Playes, et Fractures de la Teste humaine. Avec les pourtraits des Instruments necessaires pour la curation d'icelles. $25,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Reisch, Gregor. 1470-1525. Margarita Philosophica. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bright, Richard. 1789-1858. Reports of Medical Cases, Selected with a View of Illustrating the Symptoms and Cure of Diseases by a Reference to Morbid Anatomy. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Berengario da Carpi, Giacomo. C. 1460-1530. Tractatus de fractura calve sive cranei. $10,000 - $15,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Vicq D'Azyr, Felix. 1748-1794. Traite d'antomie et de physiologie. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Croce, Giovanni Andrea Della. 1509?-1775. Chirurgia libri septem... $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bruno Da Longburgo. 1200-1286. La cyrogia di Maistro Bruno: Expertissimo in quella. Tradutta in vulgare. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Schwann, Theodor. 1810-1882. Mikroskopische Untersuchungen uber die Ubereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und Pflanzen. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Cowper, William. 1666-1709. The Anatomy of Humane Bodies, with Figures Drawn after the Life… $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bidloo, Govard. 1649-1713. Anatomia humani corporis, centum & quinque tabulis, per artificiossis. G. de Lairesse ad vivum delineatis. $6,000 - $9,000
  • Dominic Winter Auctioneers
    Auctions on June 19
    and June 20
    Dominic Winter, June 19: Lot 70 - Warner (Robert). The Orchid Album, 11 volumes, 1882-1897. £5,000 to £8,000
    Dominic Winter, June 19: Lot 151 - United States. Melish (John), Map of the United States with..., British & Spanish Possessions, 1816. £40,000 to £60,000
    Dominic Winter, June 19: Lot 159 - World. Speed (John), A New and Accurat Map of the World, 1676. £4,000 to £6,000.
    Dominic Winter Auctioneers
    Auctions on June 19
    and June 20
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 503 - American Civil War playing cards. Union Cards, New York: American Card Co., 1862. £500 to £800
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 573 - Shepard (Ernest Howard), 'The Hour is Come’, original watercolour, [1959]. £10,000 to £15,000
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 922 - Wilde (Oscar). An Ideal Husband, large paper limited issue, 1899. £4,000 to £6,000
    Dominic Winter Auctioneers
    Auctions on June 19
    and June 20
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 744 - Disney (Walt). “Sketch Book” [of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs], 1938. £700 to £1,000
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 771 - Auden (Wystan Hugh). Portrait of the head of W. H. Auden, 1970. £1,000 to £1,500
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 822 - Fleming (Ian). Goldfinger, 1st edition, signed by the author, 1959. £6,000 to £8,000
    Dominic Winter Auctioneers
    Auctions on June 19
    and June 20
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 895 - Rowling (J. K.). A complete inscribed set of Harry Potter books plus ephemera. £8,000 to £12,0000
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 883 - Orwell (George). Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1st edition, London: Secker & Warburg, 1949. £3,000 to £5,000
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 700 - Ashendene Press. T. Lucreti Cari De Rerium Natura Libri Sex, Chelsea: Ashendene Press, 1913. £4,000 to £6,000
  • Heritage Auctions, June 27
    F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The Great Gatsby
    New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Mary Shelley
    Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus
    London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, 1818
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    J. R. R. Tolkien
    The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again
    London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1937
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Jane Austen
    Emma: A Novel. In Three Volumes. By the Author of "Pride and Prejudice," &c. &c.
    London: Printed for John Murray, 1816
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Robert Louis Stevenson
    An Inland Voyage
    London: C. Kegan Paul & Co., 1878
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Ernest Hemingway
    Three Stories & Ten Poems
    Paris: Contact Publishing Co., 1923
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
    History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark
    Philadelphia, 1814
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Emily Dickinson
    Autograph letter signed ("Emily and Vinnie"), to Mary Adelaide Hills
    Amherst, MA, Late April, 1880
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    John Keats
    Autograph letter signed ("John Keats"), to Mrs. Jeffrey
    Honiton 4 or 5 May 1818
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Samuel Johnson
    A Dictionary of the English Language: In which the Words are deduced from their Originals…
    London, 1765
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    H. P. Lovecraft
    Small archive of nine lengthy autograph letters signed variously over a period of six years to J. Vernon Shea.
    Various places, 1931-1937
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Izaak Walton
    The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative Man's Recreation…
    London: T. homas Maxey for Rich. ard Marriot, 1653

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2015 Issue

Cayenne, The Dry Guillotine. Part 3/3: Jean-Jacques Aymé, Affliction of Job

Jean-Jacques Aymé

 “I had loved the French Revolution with a passion,” confesses Jean-Jacques Aymé in his book Déportation et Naufrage de J.J Aymé (Paris, chez Maradan). But that was before being arrested following the attempted coup of Fructidor 18th, and being deported to the land of the “dry guillotine”, Cayenne (French Guyana). His relation first came out with no date, but he wrote: “Two books have already been published on the matter.” He meant Ramel’s and Pitou’s, respectively published in 1799 and 1805 (see previous articles). Though deported over the same reasons, he was sent to Cayenne on another ship, and didn’t come across them over there—Ramel had already escaped by the time he arrived.

 

Despite his stated lack of resentment, Aymé’s book is a bitter one. His tone is cold, deprived of humour—and his words are tough. In his very first sentence, he stated: “Nothing appears less interesting in the great History of the Revolution, than the episode of individual misfortunes.” And his particular misfortunes, he thought, “portray the cruelty of those who have usurped the sovereign power.” As an idealistic young man, Aymé had joined various political movements to partake in the building of the Republic—even the famous Conseil des 500. “I wished to have known no other sovereign power than the law,” he confessed, “and I felt I was pursuing a delusive chimera.” Reality soon caught up with him, and he found out that passions could lead you to hell—or to Cayenne, which was almost the same. He claimed he held no grudge against anyone, but denounced the hypocrisy of deportation—then seen as a humane punishment compared to the guillotine. “Ye coldly barbarous men!” he wrote. “Accompany me in the details I am about to offer, and your compassionate hearts will enjoy a spectacle worthy of all their boasted clemency.” Running away from the wrath of the Directoire the day before his being arrested, Aymé escaped his enemies for a while, and was hiding as Ramel and his friends were taken to Rochefort “into iron cages” (see previous article). He was eventually arrested at a checkpoint, and then sent to the prison of the Temple, which he called a new Bastille. During the journey that led him to Rochefort, he had several occasions to run away—but he didn’t. Unlike Pitou or Ramel, he gave quite a satisfactory reason for this: “I knew that the little property I had was under sequestration.” And Raymé was no bachelor: “Let me at least save my wife and children from the horrors of indigence.” Thus he boarded the ship La Décade for a 96 day-long journey at sea—the antechamber of the tropical hell awaiting him.

 

Call me Job

 

Pitou drew up a list of the deportees to Cayenne in his book, and Jean-Jacques Aymé appears in it: “Aymé (Jean-Jacques), 46 year old, people representative.” For his part, Ramel only mentioned one “Job” Aymé. The confusion apparently came from some misunderstanding early in his career. “It is not only in Europe that I have been obstinately called Job Aymé,” he wrote, “the same error has passed the seas and was established at Cayenne (...) It was in vain that I called myself Jean-Jacques, for I was positively assured that it was Job.” Was it because he was given almost more than a man can bear? The English publisher of his book (London, J. Wright—1800), maybe uncertain of the correct spelling, took no chance, and credited the book to J.J. Job Aimé—with a i instead of a y in Aymé (“aimé” means “loved” in French).

 

In Cayenne, Aymé and his likes were under the care of Agent Jeanet Dudin, whom Pitou described as a mean man, appointed to Cayenne by Danton, his relative. “When this great revolutionist (Danton) had reaped the fruits of his principles,” wrote Aymé, “Jeannet was alarmed and flew for safety to the United States; but when Robespierre had, in turn, paid the debt due to his crimes, Jeannet returned to Cayenne.” Aymé also portrayed him as a cunning man, “caring as little for republicanism as for royalty, and considering nothing but his pleasure and his interest.” He was, in short, a complete pirate. Ramel had very harsh words against him too, and Aymé sent his reader to his book for more details.

 

A merchant named Belleton, who was living in Cayenne, saved Aymé as he was about to be sent to the deadly desert of Konanama, where the deportees suffered from the climate and the dreadful insects, dying by the hour (see previous article). “We are from the same province,” Belleton told the unfortunate prisoner, “I am come to offer (...) a place upon my plantation.” Indeed, the French colonists in Cayenne saved many deportees. The legal situation of the deportees was quite complex, as they were urged to create their own establishment—but it was made utterly impossible for them to comply. To be employed by a colonist was then the best thing that could happen to them. Meanwhile, the Directoire boasted of being magnanimous. “Read the newspapers,” wrote a bitter Aymé, “and you’ll find out that “Cayenne is a wonderful place (...)”, thatthe deportees don’t need anything...” Indeed, several of them don’t want anything any more; they are dead.

 

Bliss in Hell

 

Aymé went through the usual torments linked to Cayenne: fever, disease, loss of weight and physical weakness. But Belleton did spare him the worst. Talking about Barbé-Marbois, Rovère and Brothier, “who alone remained of the first deportation”, as they were about to be transferred to Konanama, Aymé underlined: “Although they were in a very bad situation, at Sinnamary, they knew Konanama was still worse.” But when his benefactor left him alone on his estate, Aymé rapidly felt lonely. Yet, from the bottom of his pit, he found some kind of comfort: “I oftentimes went on board my canoe with a book,” he wrote, “at the rising or setting of the sun (...) as the tide bore me gently along, and to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding scene. (...) The finest circumstance that occurred to me on these occasions, was the descent of a company of flamands, with their flame-coloured plumage (...).” An unexpected description of hell, isn’t it?

 

One interesting passage of Aymé’s book concerns black people, or the Negroes as he called them. He said they were not the perverted creatures described by most white people, but noticed their animosity: “It is certain that they do not love white people, and that they apply themselves to do them mischief. If they perceive that anything belonging to a colonist is likely to receive injury (...), they will take care not to inform him of the circumstance, and to do everything in their power to retard his discovery of it.” Their society was very active at night, when they exchanged all sorts of crucial information. “Their first question, when they meet one another (...) is, what news? but it is in vain that you put the same question to them.” Just like in any colony, the Negroes never really mistook the interest of their masters with their own, and “to do nothing is their supreme felicity”—a sort of revenge against slavery. “The negro who has neither wants nor ambition will never work but by compulsion; (...) in one word, (...) the liberty of the blacks is incompatible with the prosperity of the colonies. At the same time, I would not have it imagined that I invite government to give them back their irons, and to recommence the traffic (...). Let us not believe those who tell us that we save the lives of those unfortunate beings whom we go to Africa to purchase since they were prisoners of war whom their conquerors would exterminate, if they did not entertain the hope of selling them to us.”

Rare Book Monthly

  • Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 4. Blaeu's Magnificent Carte-a-Figures World Map in Full Contemporary Color (1642) Est. $12,000 - $15,000
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 125. 1775 Edition of the Landmark Fry-Jefferson Map of Virginia and Maryland (1775) Est. $15,000 - $18,000
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 673. Rare Frontispiece in Full Contemporary Color with Gilt Highlights (1662) Est. $4,000 - $4,750
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 717. Complete Tanner Atlas with Important Maps of Texas & Iowa (1845) Est. $4,000 - $4,750
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 3. Henricus Hondius' Baroque-Style World Map (1641) Est. $9,500 - $11,000
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 258. Complete Set of De Bry's Native Virginians & Picts from Part I of Grands Voyages (1608) Est. $2,750 - $3,500
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 608. Superb Work on 18th Century Russia with over 100 Maps and Plates (1788) Est. $3,500 - $4,250
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 49. One of the Most Important 16th Century Maps of the New World (1556) Est. $5,000 - $6,000
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 706. Superb Image of the Annunciation in Contemporary Hand Color (1518) Est. $900 - $1,100
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 123. One of the Earliest Maps to Show Philadelphia (1695) Est. $4,000 - $4,750
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 631. One of the Earliest Printed Maps of Afghanistan & Pakistan (1482) Est. $1,900 - $2,200
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 689. Proof Copy Engraving of the Senate Floor During the Compromise of 1850 (1855) Est. $1,500 - $1,800
  • Bonhams, June 15-25: 18th Century American Sea Captain's Journals of Voyages to Hawaii, China, and South America. $35,000 - $45,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Autograph Diary from Bolling Advance Base, Winter 1934. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Thoreau, Henry David. Walden; Or, Life in the Woods. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854. $4,000 - $6,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Cellarius, Andreas. Harmonia macrocosmica seu atlas universalis et novus, totius universi creati cosmographiam generalem, et novam exhibens. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Nobelist George Stigler's Copy of Ricardo's Classic on the Science of Economics. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris: F. L. Schmied, 1927. $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Fine Copy of Walras's Classic on the Theory of Marginal Utility. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Arion Press Moby Dick. Melville, Herman. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Venegas, Miguel. Noticia de la California, y desu conquista temporal, y espiritual hasta el tiempo presente. $7,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Carelton Watkins, Yosemite and the West. Portfolio of 21 imperial albumen prints. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: An Unpublished Archive of Thornton Wilder Correspondence to F.J. O'Neil. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. Suorum de humani corporis fabrica librorum epitome. $100,000 - $150,000
  • Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Keats, John] Spenser, Edmund: The Works of that Famous English Poet, Mr. Edmond Spenser. $50,000 - $80,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: (Walton, Izaak): The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative man's Recreation. Being a Discourse of Fish and Fishing. $30,000 - $50,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Thomas, Gabriel: An Historical and Geographical Account of the Province and Country of Pensilvania; and of West-New-Jersey in America. $25,000 - $35,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Carroll, Lewis]: The Game of Alice in Wonderland. $2,000 - $3,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Athias, Joseph, et al.: Biblia Hebraica. $7,000 - $10,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Warhol, Andy, and Jens Quistgaard] Dansk Designs Salesman's Presentation Catalogue. $2,500 - $3,500.
  • Sotheby’s, June 26: Poe, Edgar Allan. Tamerlane — the most poignant rarity in American literature. 400,000 - 600,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: The Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." 2,500,000 - 5,000,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: William Blake. “Poems with very wild and interesting pictures” 1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: Thomas Taylor [artist]. The original cover art for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 400,000 - 600,000 USD

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions