13th – 20th Century Books and Manuscripts from Librairie Thomas-Scheler

- by Michael Stillman


13th – 20th Century Books and Manuscripts from Librairie Thomas-Scheler

Item 13 is the French language edition of Sir Francis Drake's 1585 mission to America, Le Voyage de Messire Francois Drake chevalier, aux Indes Occidentales l'an M.D.LXXXV. Drake, the English privateer, was sent to the Americas to disrupt the Spanish as war broke out between Spain and England. Drake was an effective marauder, plundering Cartagena and other towns in today's Colombia, burned the fort in St. Augustine, Florida, and paid a visit to Sir Walter Raleigh's doomed Roanoke Island, Virginia, colony. From the latter, he brought back tobacco and potatoes. Drake did not write the account of his journey. It was started by Captain Walter Biggs, who died shortly after leaving Cartagena, and completed by Master Crofts. It was published in England in 1589, but this French and a Latin edition preceded it, published in 1588. It is not clear in which order these two were published.

Item 16 is a first edition of the major account of one of the most important series of explorations in North American history, Canada in particular. It is Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain Xaintongeois, capitaine ordinaire pour le roy... published in 1613. It is an account of Samuel de Champlain's four voyages to America from 1604-1613. Champlain provides a detailed look at this little known land, now Canada and the northeastern United States. Back then, it was called New France. According to Church, “The volume deals very fully with the natural history of the country, its soil and products, and is especially minute in its description of the manners, customs, and habits of the Indians. In this edition the text is much fuller than in that of 1632...” The map it contains provided the first reasonably accurate view of the New England and Canadian coast and eastern Canada. It provides a first presentation of the not yet well understood Great Lakes, and the lake named for the French explorer, Lake Champlain.

There are twenty more great items found in this catalogue, including a 1593 de Jode atlas, Racine's Esther (1689), a major manuscript by Rousseau, Buffon's natural history of birds, the first French edition of Cook's three voyages, a handwritten notebook from Baudelaire, and an amazing illuminated manuscript of the writings of Roman historian Titus Livius from 1440. Prices are available on request.

Librairie Thomas-Scheler may be reached at +33 (0)1 43 26 97 69 or basane@thomas-scheler.fr