Americana


Pulp Fiction

4130.jpg (87498 bytes)

Brentford, Burke; Log Cabin Library. Rocky Mountain Sam, or, Wind-specter of the Black-feet. New York: Street & Smith, 1896. #397. $50

Original edition. 31cm; 48 pages. Illustrated on cover with comic woodcut vignettes of a bear hanging from a balloon, and of a daisy chain of men ("Indians," in the text) hanging from a balloon piloted by Rocky Mountain Sam and The Professor. Stapled. Pulp stock toned, as in all surviving copies. Fore edge frayed, last leaf torn.

Dime novel in the "Log Cabin Library" series. Episodic plot held together by character of Rocky Mountain Sam and his balloon escapades in the Indian territories.

 

Explaining America to France

Crèvecoeur, J Hector St John de. Voyage dans la haute Pensylvanie et dans l'état de New-York : par un membre adoptif de la nation Onéida . Paris: Maradan, 1801. $1,500

3321.jpg (130274 bytes)

First Edition. 20cm; 3 volumes. Complete including half-titles, 11 engraved plates and maps (some folding) and 5 tables (3 folding). Frontispiece portrait of George Washington. Portraits of Onandaga and Oneida leaders. Scenes of the Hudson Valley and Niagara Falls. References: Sabin 17501 ("much information and personal gossip not readily found elsewhere.... No other writer has so well described the Indian great councils"); Howes C-884; Siebert Sale 216.

A French immigrant to the United States, Crevecoeur effectively defined the emerging American national character in his Letters of an American Farmer (1791; we know of no earlier or more elegant formulation of the 'melting pot' theory). He returned to France in the 1790s and published there this three-volume account of the United States. The lively and enjoyable text describes amazing landscapes, records conversations with remarkable Americans, seeks to understand historical events, and penetrates deeply into the civilization of Northeast American Indian nations. Old paper-covered boards; very good condition.

 

Importation of Malaga Wine

Dearborn, Henry. Printed document, blanks filled in and signed. Marblehead, Massachusetts: March 2, 1810.  $400

1 oblong page (5 inches by 10 inches). Certifies the importation of a cask of wine from Malaga, Spain, containing "twenty-nine and one quarter" gallons. Signed by Dearborn as Collector, and countersigned by J. Prentiss as Inspector.

Henry Dearborn (1751-1829), Revolutionary War general who commanded the militia at Bunker Hill, saw action at Ticonderoga and Saratoga; he was on Washington's staff at Yorktown. He was appointed Secretary of War by President Jefferson in 1801, where he served until 1809, then became collector of Customs. President Madison named him senior General of the Army of the Northern Border in the War of 1812.

 

Duane, William. Mississippi Question : Report of a debate in the Senate of the United States on the 23d, 24th, & 25th February, 1803, of certain resolutions concerning the violation of the right of deposit in the Island of New Orleans. Philadelphia: W. Duane, 1803.   $500

24cm; [2], 198 pages. Bound in mid 20th-century paper-covered boards, joints split with spine peeling. Some spinal loss at heel. Despite the unfortunate binding, a very nice untrimmed copy, tanned only with a pervasive light dampstain through sigantures C to E and Q to Z (apparently dampened in manufacture, prior to sewing). References: Sabin 20990 ; Howes D-517; Shaw & Shoemaker 4113.

On Spain’s violation of the article in the treaty of 1795 dealing with U.S. rights to Mississippi navigation & deposit at New Orleans, by which U.S. western trade was obstructed. The dispute helped spur the Louisiana Purchase.

 

Holland Land Company ; Tench Coxe. Report of the Case of The Commonwealth, vs. Tench Coxe, Esq. on a Motion for a Mandamus, in the supreme Court of Pennsylvania:
Taken from the Manuscript of the Fourth Volume of Mr. Dallas's Reports.
Philadelphia: Jane Aitken, 1803.   $800

First edition. 22 cm; 137 pages, and one folded table. Bound in recent 1/4 morocco over marbled boards, titled in gilt on spine. Reference: Shaw and Shoemaker 4026; Sabin 60471. Title page toned and chipped at corners without loss of text; pages evenly toned.
 

Intensely interesting set of documents related to the Dutch investment company's land holdings in Pennsylvania. In 1792, the Holland Land Company was formed by four large Dutch banking houses. The banks had loaned considerable money during the American Revolution to the U.S. financier Robert Morris. After the war, the banks decided to keep the funds invested in the new country, and purchased from Morris vast tracts in New York and rights to land in Pennsylvania. The Company sponsored pioneers to settle the Pennsylvania lands, but frontier wars prevented them. In compensation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issued certificates granting title if settlement occurred within five years, and the Holland Land Company purchased many of these certificates. A change in the administration of the state's land office determined that the certificates were invalid, demanding immediate settlement of the lots. The matter went to court, and the Holland Land Company won; the company also won the appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court. This volume begins with a summary of the case decided by the Pennsylvania court. The appendices include the text of the law governing the sale of vacant lands (1792); and an essay by Coxe on "An authentic View of the Progress of the State of Pennsylvania, since the establishment of the Independence of the United States," tracing the development of the frontier.
 

Kent, James. Printed land contract, accomplished in manuscript and signed.  New York, March 20, 1798.  $125.

2096.jpg (99997 bytes)

20 x 32 cm; 1 leaf docketed on verso. Horizontal fold split and expertly repaired. Edges chipped; some folds beginning to split. Marginal ghost of prior matting.

Land contract between Andrew Gautier of Bergen County, New Jersey, and David Porter of New York, for land near Rutland, Vermont. Docketed on verso by Rutland town clerk Pliny Smith. Signed by James Kent (1763-1847), first professor of law at Columbia University, New York Supreme Court Justice (chief justice after 1804) and later chancellor of the New York court of chancery. Kent's Commentaries on American Law (1826) is fundamental.

 

Life on the Mississippi: a Swindler in New Orleans

Lienard de Beaujeu de Villemonde, Louis (1716-1802) and others. A note payable in beaver fur, protested. Manuscript document, signed. New Orleans: 5 August, 1766.  $2,000

205 x 170 mm; 2 pages. Signed by Beaujeu, disputed with bailiff's writ signed Joseph Maison and notarized by Denis Nicolas Foucault. Very good.


In the summer of 1766, Louis Beaujeu (1716-1802) wrote out a promissory note to Guillaume Estebe for £362 and change against a load of furs that Beaujeu would deliver by December. Beujeu had been a military officer who reportedly became wealthy trading pelts in Michigan, although it was against military regulations. Stationed in Michilmackinac, his wife was criticized for abusing the protection of the military for shipments of personal property. After the scandal, Beaujeu was forced to liquidate his goods and sent down the river into Illinois. That is where his financial difficulties apparently began. The present document shows him involved with Guillaume Estebe (1701-1779?), a New World entrepreneur associated with the corrupt government of François Bigot. Estebe returned to France after the Seven Years War with a large fortune, but was imprisoned in the Bastille with other colonial administrators accused of corruption. He was convicted with a slap on the wrist, and was apparently back in action in New Orleans by 1766. Appended to the IOU is an addendum dated 24 October 1768, signed by the bailiff of New Orleans, ordering the absent Beaujeu to make good on the note. The bailiff's protest is notarized by the comptroller of troops in Louisiana, whose father was coincidentally also involved in the Bigot scandals.
 

Slavery in Canada

Montigny, Jean-Baptiste-Pierre, called Louvigny. The case of Nanette, subject of a property dispute. Autograph letter, signed. Montreal: March 19, 1789.  $750

Folio, 4 pages (last three blank except for docket on page 4). eight lines of text, plus salutations, signed by Montigny, followed by five lines of text, plus salutations, signed by William Gray, sheriff of Montreal.

Montigny tries to recover a slave claimed by another landowner. Slavery was diminishing in Canada by the end of the 18th century, and was completely eradicated by 1804. Here Montigny writes, "I hereby claim a certain negroe Wench named Nanette ... seized by Jacques Vigé ... she being my property as appears by the receipt of [the one] who sold her to me." The sherriff appends, "The Hussier who seized the above Negro Wench will deliver her to Mr. Montigny..." Montigny (1750-1813) stemmed a family still prominent in Montreal. Documents of slavery in Canada are rare.

 

Money to the Senecas

Wolcott, Oliver, Jr. (1760-1833) & James McHenry (1753-1816). Autograph Memo Signed, & Autograph Fragment. [Washington:] January 28, 1799. Torn fragment, 8 inches x 3 1/2 inches. Six lines in McHenry’s hand, and, on verso, six lines plus date and signature of Wolcott.   $750.

James McHenry, secretary of war during Washington’s second term, was in effect charged with Indian Affairs. A letter of McHenry’s that proposed methods of payment to the Seneca nation apparently passed to Treasury Secretary Oliver Wolcott, Jr., who wrote a memo on the back. The memo suggests that payment can proceed directly by the authority of the Treasurer, without involving President Washington. Please inquire for full text.

«Rare Book Studio Home Page