A Short List From Antiquariaat Forum
A list of books from the Antiquariaat Forum
By Michael Stillman
The Antiquariaat Forum has published a Short Title List with recent acquisitions and a selection from our stock. What this is more specifically is a list of books this Dutch bookseller carried across two continents and one ocean to display at the recent California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Los Angeles. One must assume that any books carried this far would be of notable value, and of interest to many North American collectors. Indeed, while many titles are focused on European events, there are also many you would expect to see in the inventory of an American bookseller. They have, so to speak, been brought home again. Here are a few of their books.
Item 20 is Father Louis Hennepin's Nouvelle decouverte d'un tres grand pays situe dans l'Amerique, entre le Nouveau Mexique et la mer Glaciale. Hennepin was a missionary to what was then New France, who gave Europeans their first account of Niagara Falls, and discovered the Falls of St. Anthony in today's Minnesota. Hennepin accompanied La Salle on part of the latter's journey, as well as conducting his own explorations. This title follows an earlier less complete account Hennepin wrote before moving from France to Holland, which allowed him to speak more freely. Some of his accounts are now believed to be less than completely accurate, but for the most part he provides a good description of inland America at a time when it was virtually unknown to Europeans. This copy is a second printing from 1698. Priced at $12,100.
The French were also active in South America during the late 17th century. Here is the history of an unusual undertaking by one Jean Bernard Louis Desjean de Pointis. Admiral Pointis proposed a raid on the Spanish settlement in Carthegena, Colombia, in 1697. This was more of an expedition of thievery than one of particular political import. Baron de Pointis set sale from France, but joined up with 600 "buccaneers" (a polite word for "pirates") in Santo Domingo. Together they raided the Spanish settlement, and after a determined defense by the Spanish, Carthegena surrendered to the French on the condition they keep the buccaneers out. Pointis agreed, and attempted to do so, but feeling they had been denied their share of the plunder, the buccaneers entered the city anyway, burning and pillaging for three days. In his book, Pointis expresses his sheer contempt for his "allies." Pointis would be attacked by several English ships on his return, intent on doing to him what he had done to the Spanish, but the French were able to defend themselves and their treasure. Pointis' book is Relation de l'expedition de Carthagene... published in 1698. $13,300.
A Short List From Antiquariaat Forum
Alexandre Exquemelin shows up on the roster of the French raid on Carthegena as a surgeon, but he led an even more adventurous life before that date. Exquemelin had been sold into indentured servitude to a cruel master in the Caribbean for three years during his youth. Fortunately, his obligation was bought out midterm by a more generous master, a barber-surgeon, who taught Exquemelin his trade. Once free, but destitute, he determined to become a pirate. For five years he was, serving the infamous Henry Morgan much of the time, but then he decided to move on to more respectable pursuits. In 1678, he wrote one of the most notable accounts of the piracy profession at the time. Much of his book is based on the adventures of others, and much is probably fiction. In fact, depending on the edition, substantial parts were evidently the work of others. Depending on the audience (that is, the country in which published), editions seem designed to make the hometown people look good, and the foreigners evil. Still, the book gives a picture of an unsavory business in the late 17th century. Item 16 is a copy of the rare second French edition from 1688 of Histoire des avanturiers qui se sont signalez dans les Indies. What eventually became of Exquemelin is a mystery. After Carthegena, he was asked to work on a revised edition of his book, but refused, saying he had plans to go to America. Whatever finally became of him is unknown. $6,050.
The play Medea by Jan Six is not that well known, but its illustrator is. This 1679 edition contains an etching of the marriage of Jason and Creusa by another Dutchman, Rembrandt. Item 48. $60,500.
Here is a book you wouldn't expect to find in the Netherlands: The History of North Carolina, by Hugh Williamson. Actually, it is not quite as strange as it seems, as Williamson studied for a time in Holland and was an honorary member of the Holland Society of Sciences. He was also an American patriot and served as a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention. Though a native Pennsylvanian, he returned from Europe to settle in North Carolina during the Revolution. From there, he wrote a history of that state, although his two-volume book, published in 1812, covers only colonial times. Item 56. $1,210.
The Antiquariaat Forum
may be found online at www.forumrarebooks.com, phone number +31 (0)30 6011955.