Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2018 Issue

America 1787-1823 from the William Reese Company

Young America.

The William Reese Company has issued a new catalogue of Young America: The United States from the Constitution to the Monroe Doctrine, 1787-1823. It begins with America, having achieved its independence, deciding to be one nation, rather than a loose confederation of small, weak states. By the end, it is asserting itself as an international power, even if it wasn't quite on that level yet. That also marked the end of the Era of Good Feelings, a time of greater unity than the nation has experienced through much of its long history. We could certainly afford to restore some of those good feelings today, but that seems a long way off. Here are some selections from America's youth.

 

George Washington was the father of his country, beloved by all. Not quite. In his time, not even Washington was free from critics in his homeland. One such person was William Duane, a Philadelphia newspaperman, a proponent of Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans and virulent opponent of the Federalists. He saw Washington as more in the latter's camp. In 1796, he published A Letter to George Washington, President of the United States; containing Strictures on his Address of the Seventeenth of September, 1796, notifying his Relinquishment of the Presidential Office. Published under the pseudonym of "Jasper Dwight," it is a response of Washington's Farewell Address. You might think Duane would be happy that Washington was leaving, but he couldn't resist some parting shots. Sabin writes of this response, "One of the most violent invectives against Washington, and far more abusive than the famous letter of Thomas Paine. An example: 'Had you obtained Promotion, as you expected for the services [you] rendered after Braddock’s Defeat, your sword would have been drawn against your country.'" Considering that Paine's more understandable beef was that Washington did nothing to save his life when he faced execution in a French prison during their revolution, Duane's level of invective was a bit over the top. Item 51. Priced at $2,750.

 

Duane would have appreciated this writing more. It represented the vanquishment of the hated Federalists. Item 90 is The Inaugural Speech of Thomas Jefferson from 1801, a broadside printed on silk. Perhaps it would not have been quite to his tastes, this message being quite conciliatory after a bitter campaign. Jefferson notes that having conquered religious intolerance, little will have been gained if we countenance political intolerance. Says Jefferson, "Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names bretheren of the same principle. We are all republicans: we are all federalists." $8,750.

 

Here is a man of high moral principles. Even Jefferson could have learned a thing or two from him. Item 67 is An Enquiry Concerning the Intellectual and Moral Faculties and Literature of Negroes; Followed with an Account of the Life and Works of Fifteen Negroes and Mulattoes Distinguished in Science, Literature, and the Arts, by Henri Gregoire. This is an 1810 American edition and apparently the only English translation of the 1808 book by Gregoire written in French. Gregoire was a priest and Bishop of Blois in France, but quite a radical man for his time. He was a supporter of the French Revolution, though like so many, he ended up in prison, but escaped the guillotine. His career was devoted to promoting the causes of the oppressed, the poor and minorities. He was an opponent of royalty and Napoleon, but his prestige was sufficient to protect him. Gregoire was also a noted abolitionist, and this book promotes the abolition of slavery. Part of his method of doing so was to show the intellectual abilities of great writers and artists who happened to be black, whose achievements are remarkable considering the obstacles they had to overcome. $2,250.

 

John Hauer was not so moral a man as Henri Gregoire. Morality didn't intersect much with his life. Item 107 is A Correct Account of the Trials of Charles M'Manus, John Hauer, Elizabeth Hauer...For the Murder of Francis Shitz... published in 1798. Francis Shitz suffered misfortunes even greater than having that name. Francis and his brother, Peter, received the bulk of their father's estate when he died. However, the will provided that if the brothers had no children, part would go to his daughter. John Hauer, who happened to be daughter Elizabeth's husband, set out to make sure the brothers never had children by killing them. He half succeeded. Hauer hired four recently arrived Irishmen (including M'Manus) to kill his brothers-in-law. They got Francis with an ax, but Peter escaped. Hauer and M'Manus suffered a fate similar to Francis, except theirs came at the end of a rope. $1,750.

 

Stephen Boorn almost had a similar encounter with a noose as did Hauer. He did not deserve it, but it took a last minute miracle to spare his life. Russell Colvin, said to be mentally deficient, was married to one of his sisters. In 1812, Colvin disappeared from their Vermont home. Townsfolk assumed that Stephen and his brother, Jesse, killed him. They were convicted and sentenced to hang, though the state legislature commuted Jesse's sentence to life in prison. As a last resort, a notice was placed in newspapers seeking information about Colvin, and a farmer in New Jersey believed the description fit a hired hand in the area. That hired hand, who suffered mental issues, was enticed to Vermont, and when he arrived, people recognized who he was. Colvin had wandered off on his own. Item 23 consists of two pamphlets bound together, an 1820 second edition of Mystery Developed; or, Russell Colvin, (Supposed to Be Murdered,) in Full Life... and The Trial, Confessions and Conviction of Jesse and Stephen Boorn... and the Return of the Man Supposed to have been Murdered, from 1873. $1,000.

 

Next is the most notable of all American internal explorations, and a symbol of the young nation's rapid growth in those early years. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson, seeking to obtain New Orleans from France to protect the nation's right to navigate the Mississippi, instead received an offer he could not refuse. France offered him the whole of the Louisiana Territory, some 828,000 square miles, for the price of $15 million. Overnight, America doubled in size. The following year, President Jefferson sent Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark out into the wilderness to find out what he had purchased. They returned in 1806, having made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean, with loads of information. It would take eight more years, but finally, in 1814, they published the official account: History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark...to the Pacific Ocean. Wagner-Camp describes this book as "the definitive account of the most important exploration of the North American continent." This copy of the first edition includes the large folding map which was not supplied with all copies. $130,000.

 

The William Reese Company may be reached at 203-789-8081 or amorder@reeseco.com. Their website is www.williamreesecompany.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Piccolomini's De La Sfera del Mondo (The Sphere of the World), 1540.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Vellutello's Commentary on Petrarch, With Map, 1525.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Finely Bound Definitive, Illustrated Edition of I Promessi Sposi, 1840.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Rare First Edition of John Milton's Latin Correspondence, 1674.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Giolito's Edition of Boccaccio's The Decamerone, with Bedford Binding, 1542.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of the First Biography of Marie of the Incarnation, with Rare Portrait, 1677.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Aldine Edition of Volume One of Cicero's Orationes, 1540.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Bonanni's Illustrated Costume Catalogue, with Complete Plates, 1711.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: An Important Incunable, the First Italian Edition of Josephus's De Bello Judaico, 1480.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Jacques Philippe d'Orville's Illustrated Book of the Ruins of Sicily, 1764.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: An Incunable from 1487, The Contemplative Life, with Early Manuscript.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Ignatius of Loyola's Exercitia Spiritualia, 1563.
  • Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 546. Christoph Jacob Trew. Plantae selectae, 1750-1773.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 70. Thomas Murner. Die Narren beschwerung. 1558.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 621. Michael Bernhard Valentini. Museum Museorum, 1714.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 545. Sander Reichenbachia. Orchids illustrated and described, 1888-1894.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1018. Marinetti, Boccioni, Pratella Futurism - Comprehensive collection of 35 Futurist manifestos, some of them exceptionally rare. 1909-1933.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 634. August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof. 3 Original Drawings, around 1740.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 671. Jacob / Picasso. Chronique des Temps, 1956.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1260. Mary Webb. Sarn. 1948. Lucie Weill Art Deco Binding.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 508. Felix Bonfils. 108 large-format photographs of Syria and Palestine.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 967. Dante Aligheri and Salvador Dali. Divina Commedia, 1963.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1316. Tolouse-Lautrec. Dessinateur. Duhayon binding, 1948.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1303. Regards sur Paris. Braque, Picasso, Masson, 1962.
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: McCarthy (Cormac). Cities of the Plain, N.Y., 1998, First Edn., signed on hf. title; together with Uncorrected Proof and Uncorrected Advance Reading Copies, both signed by the Author. €800 to €1,000.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Stanihurst (Richard). De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, Libri Quattuor, sm. 4to Antwerp (Christi. Plantium) 1584. First Edn. €525 to €750.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Fleischer (Nat.) Jack Dempsey The Idol of Fistiana, An Intimate Narrative, N.Y., 1929, First Edn. Signed on f.e.p. by Rocky Marciano. €400 to €600.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Smith - Classical Atlas, Lond., 1820. Bound with, Smiths New General Atlas .. Principal Empires, Kingdoms, & States throughout the World, Lond. 1822. €350 to €500.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Rare Auction Catalogues – 1856: Bindon Blood, of Ennis, Co. Clare: Sotheby & Wilkinson. €320 to €450.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Mavor (Wm.)] A General Collection of Voyages and Travels from the Discovery of America to the Commencement of the Nineteenth Century, 28 vols. (complete) Lond., 1810. €300 to €400.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Mc Carthy (Cormac). Outer Dark, N.Y. (Random House)1968, Signed by Mc Carthy. €250 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Three signed works by Ted Huges - Wodwo, 1967; Crow from the Life and Songs of the Crow, 1970; and Tales from Ovid, 1997. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: The Garden. An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Horticulture in all its Branches, 7 vols. lg. 4to Lond. 1877-1880. With 127 colored plates. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Procter (Richard A.) Saturn and its System: Containing Discussions of The Motion (Real and Apparent)…, Lond. 1865. First Edn. €160 to €220.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Ashe] St. George, Lord Bishop of Clogher, A Sermon Preached to the Protestants of Ireland, now in London,... Oct. 23, 1712, London 1712. Second Edn. €130 to €180.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions