Description

    Presentation Copy of an Exceptionally Rare Texas Item, Inscribed by Frédéric Leclerc

    Frédéric Leclerc. Le Texas et Sa Révolution. Paris: Imprimerie de H. Fournier et Ce, 1840. First edition. 8vo. (8.75 x 5.75 inches). 104pp. One folding map by Charles Picquet, outlined in color (10.75 x 12.75 inches). Original printed wrappers. Covers are lightly soiled with some foxing. Spine is splitting at head and tail, and top and bottom portions of paper-covered spine are missing, revealing the gathered sections; binding is still intact but quite fragile. Front and rear covers are backed with binder's waste, printed leaves from random publications, discarded by the printer and often used as endpapers at this time (as pictured in last image, with a loose catalogue blurb laid on top). Very light dampstaining to some inner pages. This is a presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front cover. The inscription reads: À Monsieur Bougar(d?), homage de l'auteur, F. Leclerc. Good condition.

    An account of the Texas Republic by Frédéric Leclerc (1810-1891), a young French physician and scientist who arrived in Texas in early 1838 and stayed several months. His historical material is taken largely from Newell's History of the Revolution in Texas and other contemporary sources, "but his observations on the physical and political scene are quite useful" (Jenkins). Also, "[h]is first-hand observations on the towns of Galveston, Houston, San Felipe and Bejar de San Antonio are most interesting" (Streeter). His account is accompanied by a map, Carte du Texas, made by the geographer Charles Picquet and incorporating considerable material furnished by Leclerc himself, showing the new capital of Austin, the village that became Waco, and a number of wagon roads not previously mapped.

    In commenting on Leclerc's style and the relevance of the book, Jenkins quotes James L. Shepherd III, the translator of the English-language edition published almost one hundred years later: "[the report] reveals keen insight into the life of the frontiersman, an awareness of the essentials of practical politics, and a true appraisal of the physical potentialities of the land. [...] [The text is] the work of a thoroughly impartial and detached observer. A foreigner with no stake in the outcome of the issues involved, yet possessing a lively curiosity in the subject, the author was particularly well suited to undertake such a book."

    Leclerc's treatise originally appeared in two installments in the Parisian periodical La Revue des Deux-Mondes (March 1 and April 15, 1840), and was published in book form the same year, accompanied by the map.

    This item, in the original French, is extremely rare, and only two copies are known to have come up for sale or auction in the past thirty years. It is notable for its absence from almost all private and institutional collections. This book is made even more exceptional by the fact that it is a presentation copy, signed by the author. No other signed copy has been noted. In fact, this book is so scarce that when the English translation was to be published by the Anson Jones Press in 1950, an original copy was almost impossible to locate. According to a newspaper article dated 1951 which accompanies this book, "[t]he original French version is not to be had. Neither the Bibliothèque Nationale of France or the Library of Congress could furnish a copy for the translator's use." The copy which was provided to the translator was the very copy offered here: the article references the fact that it is signed by Leclerc and it names the book's owner, whose estate now offers this rarity for auction.

    In December, 2007 we had the honor of offering another copy of this book which ultimately sold for just under $45,000. We believe that the copy we offer here, in the original wraps and signed by the author, is a superior copy and is a must for any serious collector of historically important Texas books and documents.

    Reference:
    Streeter 1362. Basic Texas Books 122. Raines, p. 137. Howes L171. Sabin 39652.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    14th Saturday
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