Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2017 Issue

Voyages & Travel from Maggs Bros.

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Voyages & Travel.

Maggs Bros. Ltd has issued a catalogue of Voyages & Travel, their Catalogue 1493. The starting point of most of these travels was Europe, but other continents are represented as well. The destinations were everywhere, so for convenience, Maggs has broken the selections down by arrival location. Those destinations are Africa; Egypt, the Near East & Middle East; Europe, Russia, Turkey; India, Central Asia & the Far East; Australia & the Pacific; Central & South America; North America; and Alaska & the Poles. That doesn't leave out anyplace that comes to mind. Not surprisingly, when they talk of "voyages" as opposed to, say, flights, you can expect the material to be of varying degrees of old. Here are a few selections.

 

We begin with a very rare and important book, and the most expensive item in the catalogue. It is David Samwell's A Narrative of the Death of Captain James Cook, to which are added some particulars, concerning his life and character. And observations respecting the introduction of the venereal disease into the Sandwich Islands. That seems an odd combination of topics. No, Cook was not killed by the Hawaiian islanders for giving them venereal disease. Samwell's interest in the illness comes from his being the surgeon on the Discovery. He was also an eyewitness to the death of England's most famous explorer, and felt that previous descriptions of his death were incomplete, allowing for misinterpretations of Cook's actions. Cook had had good relations with the islanders in the past, but there were some small thefts, and a more serious one led to the Captain's determination to recover the stolen property. He hoped to hold the village chief in custody until the property was returned. Unfortunately, misunderstandings led to a rapid deterioration of the situation, growing tension, building of crowds, and arming, which broke down in violence. Cook became the primary victim. Samwell's most detailed account of the incident was published in 1786. Item 75. Priced at £160,000 (British pounds, or about $216,253 in U.S. dollars).

 

This next group went off to war in Hawaii, though their fate was far less fearsome than that of Cook. They were American soldiers, off to fight in a world war, but this was not the one where so many lost their lives at Pearl Harbor. This was the First World War, and in that one, there wasn't much fighting in Hawaii. Item 65 is an album of photo postcards from the 4th Cavalry, and it looks more like a Hawaiian vacation than hand-to-hand combat. The 4th Cavalry went to Hawaii in 1913, four years before America even entered the war, and stayed their until its end in 1919. The concern was a few Pacific island outposts of Germany, in New Guinea and Samoa. The album contains 215 photographs, and they show such events as arrival by train (from the local train station, obviously, not the mainland), training, parading, field exercises, and off-duty recreation. They attended carnivals, with some soldiers performing as clowns and trick-riders. There are groups of both white and black soldiers shown. African-American soldiers man a parade cart labeled "King Booze," carrying whiskey bottles and waving jugs and bottles. There are also images of native Hawaiians and local sights. £3,500 (US $4,731).

 

Here is another story of the military on favorable duty. Item 21 is Journal of a Cruize in the U. S. Ship Delaware 74, in the Mediterranean, in the Years 1833 and 1834, Together with a Sketch of a Journey to Jerusalem, by (John) Israel & (Henry) Lundt. It was printed in Port Mahon (Minorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean) by The Widow Serra and Son in 1835. The U.S. was not involved in any major wars from 1833-34. Sailors sought Mediterranean duty in particular as it was an exciting place to be. This trip was significant as the Delaware was the first American naval ship to visit Beirut. There were 876 on board, including Commodore Daniel Patterson, his wife and daughters. One usually doesn't bring their wife and daughters to war. Besides which, Patterson had served his time fighting Barbary pirates and defending New Orleans at the time of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. It was estimated that 40,000 people visited the Delaware during her stay in Beirut. The journal also includes a description of the authors' side trip to Jerusalem. They were members of the crew, and explain that the book was intended for use of their shipmates, which explains the book's printing location, the typos throughout, and the fact that it was published mid-journey. It also explains the book being quite rare. £4,250 (US $5,714).

 

Commodore Patterson might have found this book useful while defending New Orleans. Item 95 is the Blue Book. The book may be blue, but it was a guide to the city's red light district - Storyville. It tells you where to find New Orleans' working women, the bordellos and prostitutes. For convenience, the ladies are broken down by race, white, black, and octoroon. Names and addresses are provided. The guide is interspersed with advertisements for bars, restaurants, and ladies, along with whiskey, cigars, and candy (to bring home to the children?). The guide was available in local shops for 25 cents, but Patterson would not have been able to avail himself of its useful information as it came along a century too late. It was published from 1909-1915, this one coming from no later than 1913. £2,750 (US $3,698).

 

Item 41 is a "Hurt Certificate" from England's great naval victory at Trafalgar in 1805. These were given to sailors who were injured in action. They could be for a lump sum or for a continuing annuity. This one was issued to Peter Marshall, an Ordinary Seaman. He served on board HMS Colossus, which sustained serious enemy fire during the battle. Marshall was hit in the leg with grape shot and received a compound fracture which left him lame. His award was for £6 per annum. Undoubtedly, Marshall would have preferred to receive what his certificate is worth today. £3,000 (US $4,052).

 

Item 97 is an American Civil War era broadside pertaining to journeys that began in Africa, and not voluntary ones either. It is headed The Slaver Gordon, His Dying Soliloquy. It is a song sheet of an imagined dying lament of Nathaniel Gordon, the only American slave trader executed under the Piracy Law of 1820. The song kindly describes Gordon as a man consumed by his conscience who acted out of greed. His supporters appealed to President Lincoln for a pardon, but while Lincoln issued many pardons during his administration, he was unwilling to be soft on slave traders. £600 (US $807).

 

Maggs Bros. Ltd. may be reached at ++44 (0)20 7493 7160 or travel@maggs.com. Their website is www.maggs.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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