• <b>ANZAAB Joint Catalogue:</b> BULLER, Walter Lawry. <i>A HISTORY OF THE BIRDS OF NEW ZEALAND.</i> London, Van Voorst, 1873. Special De-Luxe edition of this already rare work.
    <b>ANZAAB Joint Catalogue:</b> GIBBS, May. <i>Gum-Nut Babies.</i> Sydney: Angus and Robertson, Ca. 1918.
    <b>ANZAAB Joint Catalogue:</b> SWIFT, Jonathan. <i>TRAVELS INTO SEVERAL REMOTE NATIONS OF THE WORLD.</i> London: Printed for Benj.Motte. 1727.
    <b>ANZAAB Joint Catalogue:</b> JUKES, Joseph Beete. <i>NARRATIVE OF THE SURVEYING VOYAGE OF H.M.S. FLY…</i> London: T. & W. Boone, 1847. First Edition.
    <b>ANZAAB Joint Catalogue:</b> <i>SOMERVILLE, E OE. IN THE VINE COUNTRY.</i> London: W H Allen & Co Limited, 1893.
    <b>ANZAAB Joint Catalogue:</b> MAWE, John. <i>The voyager’s companion, or shell collector’s pilot.</i> London : 1825. Rare.
    <b>ANZAAB Joint Catalogue:</b> PARKINSON, John. <i>Theatrum Botanicum, The Theater of Plants…</i> London, Thomas Cotes, 1640.
    <b>ANZAAB Joint Catalogue:</b> c. 1150 decorated MONASTIC MISSAL LEAF, Southern Germany/Austria.
    <b>ANZAAB Joint Catalogue:</b> LEGGE, Captain W. Vincent. <i>A HISTORY OF THE BIRDS OF CEYLON.</i> London, The Author, 1880.
    <b>ANZAAB Joint Catalogue:</b> AUNT HANNAH. <i>SOME ADVENTURES IN THE LIFE OF A COCKATOO.</i> Published in New York by R. Shugg and Co., 1872.
  • <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors’ Sale<br>9 & 10 December 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> Joyce (James), <i>Ulysses,</i> 4to, Paris: (Shakespeare & Co.) 1922, First Edn. €7,000 to €9,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> Of the Utmost Rarity with Swift Association. Harward (Michael). <i>Philomath. A New Almanack for the Year of Our Lord,</i> 1666. €6,000 to €9,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> With Full Complement of Hand Coloured & Other Plates. Rosellini (Ippolito). <i>Monumenti dell Egitto e della Nubia,</i> Vols. I, II, & III Plate Volumes only. €5,000 to €7,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors’ Sale<br>9 & 10 December 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> With Magnificent Hand Coloured Plates. [Bivort, Debabay, & others] <i>Annales de Pomologie,</i> 8 vols., folio, Brussels, 1853-1861. €4,000 to €6,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> With Very Fine Coloured Plates & Illustrations. Barbier (George) Vogel (Lucien) & others, <i>Gazette du Bon Ton - Arts-modes et frivolities, </i> 1914 to 1922. €4,000 to €6,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> “I have seen War... I hate War," Signed Presentation Copy to William C. Bullitt, Roosevelt (Franklin D.) August 14, 1936. €3,000 to €4,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors’ Sale<br>9 & 10 December 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> Victorian Hostess & Horticulturist. An Important Collection Relating to Lady Dorothy Nevill (1826-1913). €2,500 to €3,200.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> Fine Original Portrait Photos of The O'Brien Ladies by Margaret Cameron. Two black and white Photos, each 8" x 10". €1,200 to €1,800.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> James Hume Nesbitt Illustrations: A collection of twelve pen and ink Drawings and Etchings intended for publication as book of illustrations for his thriller novels. €800 to €1,200.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors’ Sale<br>9 & 10 December 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> Attributed to Kitagawa Utamavo (1753-1806). A pair of attractive colourful woodblock prints, of Court Ladies in decorative robes with numerous stamps and script. €800 to €1,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> Contemporaneous Notes from Captain Cook's Voyage Travel: [Anon] <i>Voyage to the South Sea by Mr. Banks, Mr. Parkinson and Dr. Solender, with Capt. Cooke,</i> a 7 page m/ss document. €700 to €1,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Dec. 9:</b> Very Rare First U.K. Edition with Yellow Paper Band. Herbert (Frank). <i>Dune,</i> 8vo London (Victor Gollancz Ltd.) 1966. €500 to €700.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>English Literature, History, Science,<br>Children’s Books and Illustrations<br>1 – 8 December, 2020</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 1-8 Dec.:</b> JAMES OF MILAN | <i>Pricking of love,</i> illuminated manuscript in Middle English [England, fifteenth century]. £60,000 to £80,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 1-8 Dec.:</b> BEARDSLEY | <i>The Toilet of Helen,</i> original ink drawing for Savoy, 1895. £30,000 to £50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 1-8 Dec.:</b> DICKENS | <i>A Christmas Carol,</i> 1844, seventh edition, presentation copy inscribed by the author. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>English Literature, History, Science,<br>Children’s Books and Illustrations<br>1 – 8 December, 2020</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 1-8 Dec.:</b> DARWIN | <i>For Private Distribution... Extracts from Letters addressed to Professor Henslow...,</i> 1835, original wrappers. £70,000 to £90,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 1-8 Dec.:</b> DEFOE | Autograph manuscript poem, 'Resignation', 1708. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 1-8 Dec.:</b> GRAHAME | <i>The Wind in the Willows,</i> 1908, first edition, dust-jacket. £12,000 to £16,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2019 Issue

West-Indian Apocalypse, “Year Minus 1.”

033d761b-f7f1-40fa-9edb-07a98b137cdd

Between 1788 and 1790, Stanislas de Wimpffen resided in the French West-Indian colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti). He failed to make a fortune, but he gave an intimate description of a corrupted society based on slavery, and about to sink in a pool of blood. Actually, the island caught fire a few months after his departure! Wimpffen’s narrative, Voyage à Saint-Domingue pendant les années 1788, 1789 et 1790 (Paris, 1797), first came out in England—and this is no accident.

 

This is a typical book from the post-French Révolution (1789) period, printed on cheap paper, and bound in half low-quality leather. The title and number plates, on the backs of the two in-8 volumes, are also very cheap, and the gilding is minimalist—there’s a folding chart at the end of volume 2, but no engraving or map. We know little about the printer, R.L. Cocheris, who was “active approximately 1796—approximately 1800” (archive.org). Based in Paris, he published a few books including Bayard’s Voyages dans l'intérieur des Etats-Unis (1797), and some posthumous editions of Diderot alongside François Buisson, another bookseller from Paris.

 

According to the title page, our book was printed “Year 5 of the Republic.” In September 1792, with the intention to erase all royal symbols from the public square, the Revolutionary government decided to shift from the “old” Gregorian calendar to a Republican one. Names of months were changed, and civilization was staring all over again, not from a Christian perspective—since the Church was the natural ally of royalty—but from a Republican one! 1792 then became “Year 1”. So, whenever you come across a book printed “Year ‘something’ of the Republic”, just add ‘something’ to 1792 in order to get the actual date of printing. Thus, our book was from “1797 old style”—as specified (in brackets) on the title page. These new years were from September to September so that a book published “Year 5” might actually be from 1798—this calendar remained effective until 1806. The Republic was a sort of a new religion, and everything was going through its filter. When talking about his author in the preface, the printer calls him a “man of Court”, adding at once: “if Republicans will forgive the expression”. Then, on the last page of the second volume, we find not the regular King’s Privilege (authorization of printing), of course—but a legal statement, placing “this edition under the protection of the law and the probity of the citizens.” The printer dated it as follows: “In Paris, on Vendémiaire the 10th, Year VI of the French Republic (October 1st, 1798), which is one and indivisible.”

 

Our book is also deeply rooted in its time because it regards the French colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti), which the author left a few months before the general rebellion broke out, in August 1791! As a matter of fact, it first came out in England (A Voyage to Santo Domingo—London, 1797), with a very political preface, in which Wimpffen describes the best way to capture the colony of Saint-Domingue. At the time, resenting the abolitionist measures of the French revolutionary government, many planters turned to the English colonists of the nearby island of Jamaica, and offered to deliver them the colony, providing they would intervene against the rebellious Negroes—the English did try to capture Saint-Domingue, but were eventually repelled by the troops of the black hero Toussaint Louverture. This preface, wisely expunged from the French edition, which came out a few months later, clearly shows on which side Wimpffen’s bread was buttered. A slave owner, who desperately tried to “make it” in the plantation business, he portrayed a society that disappeared shortly afterwards; his testimony thus became a time capsule, and we’re about to open it—let’s go back to the West-Indian Apocalypse, “Year minus 1”.

 

Alexandre Stanislas de Wimpffen (17..- 18...), was a German Baron, who had received a French education. He enjoyed writing letters to his friends while travelling. In 1788, he published Lettres d’un Voyageur (Amstedram, 1788), relating a travel that took him from England to South Africa. The same year, he embarked at Le Havre, France, on the Venus—this time, he was going to Saint-Domingue after his dreams of riches, but the awakening was a rude one. “The cracking of whips, the smothered cries, and the indistinct groans of the Negroes, who never see the day break but to curse it; who are never recalled of a feeling of their existence, but by sufferings—this is what takes place of the crowing of the early cock.” Wimpffen introduces himself as deeply opposed to “the infamous traffic we maintain on the coasts of Africa”—he means slavery. Yet, as he intended to become a planter, he had to become a slave owner. His position towards slavery appears to be ambivalent—and quite significant of the mentalities of his time. An educated man, he often sounds like an educated fool. To him, the colony was a wild world with no refinement, where “the disgusting alliance of all the absurdities of ignorance and sottishness (sic) affecting talents, with all the vices of an immorality, which cannot even allege seduction as an excuse, (...) presents the humiliating picture of humanity in the last stage of degradation.” He had heard so much about the capital Port-au-Prince, while in Europe! People there described it as “the residence of the civil and military power, the capital of the richest country on the face of the globe! the throne of luxury ! the centre of voluptuousness!” It turned out to be but “two rows of huts” and “a chaotic mass of wooden barracks.” The white women he met were just “prostitute from the hospitals*, abandoned wretches** raked up from the mud of the capital.” The freed Mulattoes “remain in a state of abjectness (...). If I visit a rich Mulatto (...) he will ask me to dinner; but if he be correct, he will not presume to sit at table with me.” He felt sorry for the slaves, although they stink “like house-leeks”; of course, when he heard about that young lady, “one of the handsomest in the island”, who had thrown her Negro cook into the oven “yet glowing with heat” because he had ruined a dish, he was outraged.

 

  • The French edition reads “from la Salpétrière”, which is a refuge for the poorest in Paris.

  • The French edition reads “salopes”, or bitches.

 

 

Slavery

 

There were 460,000 slaves in the colony at the time, and only 18,000 colonists. Wimpffen soon realized that “your colonies, such as they are, cannot exist without slavery. (...) You must then sanction slavery, or renounce the colonies.” The slaves were not all miserable, he states. There is peace of mind in slavery. What does a slave have to care about? To put it simply, “when the Negro has eaten his banana, he goes to sleep.” Obviously, this state of bliss didn’t concern bad cooks. In Saint-Domingue, Wimpffen realized that “the conquerors have assumed the manners of conquered.” The whole island resembled a giant brothel, where “the girls are a more valuable commodity than the boys, because (...) if they have the smallest pretentions to beauty, they have no great need of abilities to excite, among the unmarried whites, an emulation which assures them a price impossible to ascertain, since it is love, and what is more, self-love, which determines it.” When a female slave “wanted” to sleep with a White, she had to ask her master. She would receive money from her “lover”, so the master would collect his share, which made him—yes, a pimp. Slaves were not only sexually abused, but they were sexually exploited—a burning issue hardly discussed at the time, even by the abolitionists.

 

After three years’ time, Wimpffen’s efforts had not paid, and he grew disillusioned. “We must look forward to an epoch, which is not, perhaps, so distant as we may imagine;—that of a total cessation of the slave trade.” This world, he felt, was about to crumble. He left for the United States in 1790, regretting nothing—and no one. “The more I know the inhabitants, the more I felicitate myself on quitting it. I came hither with the noble ambition of occupying myself solely in acquiring a fortune; but destined to become a master, and consequently to possess slaves, I saw (the necessity) to know them—and I depart with much less esteem for the (Whites) than pity for the (Negroes). When a person is what the greater part of the planters are, he is made to have slaves; when he is what the greater part of slaves are, he is made to have a master: Tout le monde est ici à sa place/Everyone here is at their place.” As Voltaire’s Pangloss would say, all is well.

 

A few months later, Wimpffen left a colony that didn’t deserve him. Shortly afterwards, Saint-Domingue indeed sank in a bath of blood, only to resurface under the new name of freedom, Haiti—“Year 1 of the first black Republic ever.”

Thibault Ehrengardt

 

 

 

A Voyage to Santo Domingo,

In the Years 1788, 1789 and 1790.

By Francis Alexander Stanislas Baron de Wimpffen

London, Printed for T. Cadell Junior, and W. Davies

(successors to Mrs Cadell) in the strand; and J. Wright,

Opposite Old Bond-Street, Piccadilly, 1797.

In 1 Volume: half-title, title page, 4 pages (dedication), 12 pages (preface), 371 pages.

With a folding map of Santo Domingo and a frontispiece (portrait of the author).

 

 

Voyage à Saint-Domingue

pendant les années 1788, 1789 et 1790

Par le Baron de Wimpffen

Á Paris, Chez Cocheris, Imprimeur-Libraire, cloître Saint-Benoît, N°352, Section des Termes

An Cinquième de la République (1797, vieux style).

Vol.1 : Half-title, title page, 4 pages (Avis des éditeurs), 309 pages, 1page (errata).

Vol.2 : Half-title, title page, 265 pages, 1 page (errata). A folding chart (number of Negroes in each parish).

 

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>December Sale<br>December 5, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> SHERBURNE, BRANTZ, and WIRGMAN. The Original Drawings of the First Modern Scientific Survey of the Patapsco River and Chesapeake Bay. $350,000 to $500,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> LAFON, Barthelemy. The Earliest Comprehensive Survey of Louisiana and its Adjacent Regions. $350,000 to $450,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> Giacomo GASTALDI. The Most Important Renaissance Wall Map of Asia Published in the 16th Century – with all four sheets having full margins. $300,000 to $400,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>December Sale<br>December 5, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> CAO, Junyi. The Most Important Map of China to Come to Market in 50 Years. One of only three known copies of the last Ming Dynasty world map. $325,000 to $375,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> ORTELIUS, Abraham. Ortelius Atlas Spanish 1588 Magnificently Rich Original Hand Color in Full. $225,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> An Exceptionally Fine and Historically Important Manuscript Map Showing the Origins of Texas in the 19th Century. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>December Sale<br>December 5, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> PRICE, William and BONNER, John. Map of Boston 1769. $225,000 to $325,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> John James AUDUBON. Audubon’s Brilliant Icon, That Has Never Been Equaled for Drama. $150,000 to $250,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> Pierre-Joseph REDOUTE. Original Watercolor, Red Lily. $175,000 to $250,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>December Sale<br>December 5, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> John James AUDUBON. The Most Famous Image of a Bird in All of History. $150,000 to $200,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> Martin WALDSEEMULLER. The Finest Example in Existence of Martin Waldseemuller’s Map of the New World, with Spectacular Full Original Color. $150,000 to $200,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 5:</b> GORDON, Peter. The First State of the First View of Savannah: The Template for American Urban Planning. $100,000 to $150,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Bernardus Sylvanus, one of the earliest printed maps of the New World, woodcut, Venice, 1511. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Johannes Blaeu, <i>Nova et Accuratissima Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula,</i> Amsterdam, 1662. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Emanuel Bowen & John Gibson, <i>Atlas Minimus,</i> miniature atlas, London, 1758. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Henry Andrews, <i>The Botanist's Repository for New & Rare Plants,</i> London, 1797-1815. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> John James Audubon, <i>Night Heron or Qua Bird, Plate CCXXXVI,</i> hand-colored aquatint, 1835. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Basilius Besler, group of 30 folio engravings, <i>Hortus Eystettensis,</i> Eichstatt, 1613. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Henri Chatelain, <i>Carte Tres Curieuse de la Mer du Sud...,</i> Amsterdam, 1719. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Arnoldus Montanus, <i>Die Unbekante Neue Welt...,</i> German text edition, Amsterdam, 1673. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> John Woodhouse Audubon, <i>California Gray Squirrel,</i> oil on canvas, c. 1853. $30,000 to $50,000.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Livres et Manuscrits<br>7 – 15 December, 2020</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 7 – 15 Dec.:</b> [RELIURE BRODÉE]. <i>Horae beatissimae...</i> Anvers, 1570. Reliure brodée de la Renaissance aux armes du duc d'Anjou. €50,000 to €70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 7 – 15 Dec.:</b> ARTOIS, comte d', futur Charles X. 75 lettres autographes au comte de Vaudreuil entre 1792 et 1804. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 7 – 15 Dec.:</b> [Pascal, Blaise]. <i>Lettres de A. Dettonville ...</i> Paris, 1658-1659. Rarissime édition originale en reliure de l'époque. €30,000 to €50,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Livres et Manuscrits<br>7 – 15 December, 2020</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 7 – 15 Dec.:</b> Aragon, Louis. Ens. de 8 ouvrages avec envois à Jacques Lacan, dont "Blanche et l'oubli", 1967, sur grand papier. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 7 – 15 Dec.:</b> Fermat, Pierre de. <i>Varia opera mathematica.</i> Toulouse,1679. Petit in-folio. Edition originale. De la bibliothèque de Jacques Lacan. €6,000 to €8,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 7 – 15 Dec.:</b> Leduc, Violette. <i>La Bâtarde.</i> 1958-1963. Important manuscrit autographe, premier jet. 20 cahiers, env 2048 p. ms. €40,000 to €60,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions