AE Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2006 Issue

A Short List From Antiquariaat Forum

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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.

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