Lot 58 of 703:
Brissot's travels in the US   

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$1,500 - $2,500

Nouveau Voyage dans les État-Unis de l'Amérique Septentrionale, Fait en 1788

Brissot De Warville, Jacques Pierre


Chez Buisson, Imprimeur et Libraire



3 vols. [1], lii, 395 pp.; [1], 460 pp.; [1], xxiii, 448 pp. (8vo), 19x11.5 cm (7½x4½"), contemporary tree-calf, red morocco labels, gilt rules and lettering. Folding table. First Edition.

The first English edition appeared in 1792, followed by many editions in numerous languages. Clark, Travels in the Old South, vol. 2, 80; Sabin 8035. Inscribed atop title-page of Volume I: "D. Wiglesworth, professor [...] / the author & his excellent Notes on populati[on] / Brissot." Signed in all three volumes "Thomas Wigglesworth / 1792." Signed by Edward Wigglesworth 1818 on the front pastedowns of all three volumes.

Jacques Pierre Brissot de Warville (1754-1793) accomplished a lot before perishing beneath the guillotine A crusading revolutionary and journalist, he published numerous reformist books and articles and spent four months in the Bastille. In 1788 he toured the United States for the anti-slavery cause and as agent for an investment scheme. Back in Paris, he achieved great power - practically controlling French foreign policy - as the leader of the Girondists; but, when the tide turned, he was swept away. In America he toured widely, taking a special interest in the Quakers, dined with James Madison in Philadelphia, and spent three days at Mount Vernon with the Washingtons. Much of his time was spent in and around Boston, and a Harvard he met Edward Wigglesworth (1732-1794), the second Hollis Professor of Divinity, grandson of the poet Michael Wigglesworth (1631-1705) and son of Edward Wigglesworth, the distinguished first Hollis Professor. Brissot refers to Wigglesworth on page 135 of volume I; and in his chapter in volume II on longevity in the United States, Brissot refers to Wigglesworth's published research on the subject and uses his table of comparative longevities. Although Brissot's inscription is partially illegible, it's obvious that he was expressing his thanks to the American academic for his information. Edward Wigglesworth passed this set on before his death to his son Thomas (1775-1855), an East India merchant based in Boston; and Thomas in turn gave the set to his son Edward (1804-1876), an attorney, merchant philanthropist, and co-compiler of the 13-volume Encyclopaedia Americana (Philadelphia, 1828-1832). 

Lot Amendments

Front hinge of volume I starting; foot of spine frayed; front free endpaper detached; presentation inscription trimmed by the binder; very good.

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