AE Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2006 Issue

Travel from Gert Jan Bestebreurtje

Travel

Travel from Gert Jan Bestebreurtje


By Michael Stillman

The latest offering from Gert Jan Bestebreurtje, Antiquarian Bookseller, is Travel. The Library of the Dutch Collector Berend Ten Hoove. Do not be fooled by the Dutch collector or Dutch bookseller. While there is certainly Dutch material in this catalogue, there is also a great number of English and French language works, and a surprising amount of Americana. Indeed, this is not the first time we have discovered a trove of English and American items hidden off in the Netherlands in Bestebreurtje's inventory. You just may find some books you cannot locate in their native country secreted away in this place where you might least expect to find it. Here are a few samples, with a tilt to those in the English language.

Item 30 is one of the major explorations of French America. The French would be driven from the North American continent as a result of the French and Indian War (Seven Years War), but prior to 1763, they were a major force. Pierre Charlevoix was a Jesuit missionary sent by the government of France to report on French settlements and surrounding territories in Canada and Louisiana (the old, much larger Louisiana). His report was first published in French in 1744. This is the first English translation from 1761, Journal of a voyage to North America. Undertaken by order of the French king containing the geographical description and natural history of that country, particularly Canada. Charlevoix's journeys took him through the Great Lakes region and down the Mississippi as well as eastern Canada. Not only does he provide accounts of the French communities, but of the native Indians as well. Priced at €2,250 (Euros, or approximately US $2,667).

The Marquis de Lafayette is one of America's greatest Revolutionary War heroes, though he was a Frenchman, not an American. He came to America in 1776 at the age of 19, whereupon he was given a command by Washington and served honorably throughout the war. His influence in garnering French assistance for the cause was even more notable. When he left America at the close of the Revolution in 1783, he was deeply admired by the citizens of his adopted nation and a great friend of Washington and other American leaders. Lafayette did not again set foot on American soil for over 40 years. When he did return, it was as a beloved hero. He embarked on a tour which took him through all 24 states, and lasted over a year. He met with 88-year-old former President John Adams in Massachusetts, and was seated between former Presidents Jefferson and Madison for dinner in Virginia. He visited the White House while Monroe was president, and again while John Quincy Adams was its resident. He met with future President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee. Everywhere he went, he was greeted by enthusiastic crowds and the most important of local officials. He was guest of honor at ceremonies marking the beginning of construction of the Bunker Hill monument, and took back soil from the hill, which would be sprinkled over his grave. Finally, 13 months after his arrival, Lafayette bid his last goodbyes to America and boarded a ship for his final return to France. This amazing tour is recounted in the two-volume book Lafayette en Amerique en 1824 et 1825, ou journal d'un voyage aux Etats Unis, written by his personal secretary Auguste Levasseur, who accompanied him. It was published in 1829. Supposedly, when General Pershing led American forces into France in World War I to free that country from the Germans, he said, "Lafayette, we are here." Item 95. €395 (US $468).

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