Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2010 Issue

Important Antiquarian Books from Peter Harrington

Harrington70

Exceptional works from Peter Harrington.


By Michael Stillman

Peter Harrington Antiquarian Bookseller has issued Catalogue 70, a collection of impressive works relating to economics, politics, history, law, medicine, philosophy and science, as well as other early printed books. The catalogue starts with 14 particularly notable "featured items," but the remainder of the 177 items offered are also of more than passing significance. Harrington specializes in important works and this catalogue fits the bill. Here are a few of these books.

Item 4 is a great work, but it is the provenance of this copy that makes it far more remarkable. The book is The French Revolution: a History, by Thomas Carlyle, a first American edition from 1838. Carlyle wrote this book at the urging of John Stuart Mill, after the latter determined he did not have the time to complete such a work himself. Famously, Mill's maid burned the only draft of the first volume, mistaking it for garbage, thereby forcing Carlyle to rewrite it. Carlyle presents a history of that revolution in what was then an unorthodox manner, retelling events more as a participant or witness than traditional historian. This American edition was funded and promoted by a great admirer and friend of Carlyle on the western side of the Pond - Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson's promotion of the book made it a success in America, and provided Carlyle with some badly needed financial stability. It was while Emerson was promoting this work that he first met Henry David Thoreau, who would also become a good friend (Emerson was a friendly person). Emerson was something of a mentor, encouraging the young and then unknown Thoreau to write articles for a magazine, Emerson then pressing the publisher to print them. This copy of Carlyle's work is inscribed by Emerson to Thoreau. The two would exchange numerous books in the years to come, though some were not inscribed, and at most three came from Emerson in the early years of their friendship (prior to 1840). Priced at £135,000 (British pounds, or approximately $203,882 in U.S. currency).

Item 121 offers a contemporary opinion about a specific event during the French Revolution, by a once ardent supporter who, like so many others, became its victim. Americans remember Thomas Paine for his fervent support of the American Revolution, but he was equally enthusiastic about the French one, at least for a time. His strong promotion of democratic institutions in France antagonized the British, but managed to get Paine elected to the French legislature, though he spoke little of the language. However, events quickly rushed past the radical Paine, turning him into a conservative by revolutionary standards. Offered is a copy of the Opinion de Thomas Payne [sic]...Concernant Le Jugement de Louis XVI... (bound together with two other works). Paine had favored the complete overthrow of the monarchy, rather than the constitutional monarchy of 1791. However, when that overthrow occurred in 1792, Paine did not agree with the assembly that King Louis XVI should be beheaded. This is Paine's speech calling for the King to be exiled to America instead, where he would have been welcomed as a supporter of the American Revolution. Instead of saving Louis, the plea almost got Paine beheaded too. There was no sentimentality in the French Revolution. He was imprisoned, and saved from execution only because he was accidentally overlooked when his time came, enabling him to survive long enough to escape the Reign of Terror. £3,000 (US $4,529).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.

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