Zinos Books has issued their 2023 Winter Catalog of Rare & Antiquarian Books. The catalogue doesn't focus on a particular subject, offering a wide variety of material. What we can say is that books are of European origin and very old. They break them out by century, with four being represented, the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth. Various languages are found. Here is a short selection of the material they present in this latest catalogue.
We begin with a collection of eight manuscripts, seven being autograph letters signed, pertaining to the American Revolution. Two come from John Bourke, an Irish politician who served in both Ireland's House of Commons and House of Lords. In 1777, he writes prophetically, “Five million has been raised for the purpose of the American war; the prospect of finishing that war seems as remote as ever. The French are the only gainers by the Contest...” One is from French naval officer Francois-Aymar de Monteil, who served on the American side during the war, that refers to his service. There are several from British Admiral Hugh Seymour, who was stationed in Europe during the war, and one from William Hall Gage, son of Thomas Gage, the Commander of British forces in America at the outbreak of the Revolution. Item 25. Priced at $4,750.
This is an account of another revolution. It took place in Ireland in 1641. This was one of the many battles that have gone on for centuries between Irish Catholics and Protestants. Catholics rebelled seeking equal rights, greater control of the local government, and reversal of at least some the plantations, where English and Scottish settlers were able to take land from Irish owners. The conflict in time became particularly brutal, with atrocities committed on both sides. Ultimately, the conflict kept reappearing over the many centuries that followed. Item 10 is Irish Rebellion; or an History of the Beginning and first Progresse of the Generall Rebellion raised within the Kingdom of Ireland upon the three and twentieth day of October, in the year 1641, published in 1646. The author was Sir John Temple, a Privy Councilor in Dublin, loyal to England. It is described as an eyewitness account as Temple was situated in Dublin, but how much he saw is not clear and he was anything but an objective observer. His one-sided accounts of atrocities served to inflame passions in England and Scotland against the Irish. $1,500.
A Chinese Emperor published a list of 16 maxims in 1670 and if today they seem a bit trite and obvious, they may not have been back then. The words, if taken sincerely, are still good today. Item 28 is The Sacred Edict Containing Sixteen Maxims of the Emperor Kang-He, Amplified by His Son Emperor Yoong-Ching, Together with a Paraphrase of the Whole, by a Mandarin, published in 1817. This date was many years after the Kangxi Emperor's rule but it took that long to get a complete English translation. The maxims included pious commands such as being generous to your family, encourage peaceful communications with neighbors, be moderate and economical, honor schools and scholars, elevate customs and manners, and be honest. There is also one about paying your taxes. The translation includes commentary from Youpu, a scholar, who explained the maxims in greater detail along with giving examples. These maxims and commentary would be read aloud regularly in the villages, a practice that went on at least well into the nineteenth century. The Kangxi Emperor was the longest ruling leader of China, 61 years in all, but he was only sixteen when he wrote these maxims. They were Confucian beliefs and part of the motivation was securing the support of Confucian leaders. His rule was marked by prosperity and for the most part, peace. Item 28. $1,500.
This is not a pleasant subject, as is the case with most diseases. The title, in Latin, is De Podagra tractatus, morbi huius indolem & curam diligenter exponens... (A treatise on the Gout, carefully explaining the nature and treatment of this disease). Gout is a painful joint disease, especially of the big toe, that has been making life miserable for people, older men in particular, for as long as recorded history. The author of this book was Johann Losel (Loesel), a German doctor and botanist of the 17th century. Losel provides a number of remedies drawn from times both ancient and modern, from Galen to Paracelsus. The book also contains writings on the subject by the polymath Italian doctor from the previous century, Girolamo Cardano. Cardano actually had a few positive things to say about the disease. Gout had a reputation as a rich man's disease at the time, so perhaps that was his inspiration. He claimed it had certain beneficial effects, such as being an aphrodisiac. Item 8. $600.
Two hundred years ago, one had to be a bit more circumspect in reaching the sensational and prurient interests of the general public. It led to books that were sort of shocking, replete with not too graphic sex, and, of course, a moral to make it all respectable. Here is one such book: A Short but Tragical History of an Unfortunate Young Girl, Who was Seduced by a Gentleman of Fortune... There is no author listed for this chapbook published in 1810. In this case, a 15-year-old grocer's daughter trying to raise her station in life is seduced and taken advantage of by a wealthy man. Perhaps this no longer happens to naive 15-year-olds very often, but the wealthy man using his wealth to seduce a young lady of more modest means is hardly a thing of the past. Item 26. $350.
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