Amsterdam: Chez les Héritiers E. van Harrevelt, 1784. xvi,,128,307; ,91pp. plus folding map and two folding tables. 19th-century three-quarter calf and marbled boards, spine gilt with raised bands and gilt black morocco label. One-inch scrape to rear board and superficial scrape to lower corner of front board, some wear to corners and edges, wear to spine ends and joints. Philadelphia bookseller's ticket (Thos. V. Paul) on front pastedown. Early ownership inscription on titlepage (see below). Two one-inch closed tears to map (with no loss). Occasional foxing and some tanning. Paper fault to lower corner of p.91(third series), with no loss to text. Very good overall. Item #WRCAM42814A
This copy bears the early ownership signature on the titlepage of Pieter Johan van Berckel (1725-1800), who served as the first Dutch ambassador to the United States, initially taking up his appointment in 1783. First edition of this work on the history, geography, government, commerce, politics, and natural history of the American colonies. Joseph Mandrillon (1743-1794) was a French banker in Amsterdam who had come to the colonies before the Revolution in hopes of establishing a bank. He attempted an ongoing correspondence with George Washington, who politely rebuffed him. Mandrillon returned to France just as the French Revolution was starting and found himself on the guillotine in January 1794. "The author was desirous of being a member of the [Society of the] Cincinnati, and thought that Congress could take away the difficulty which prevented his membership" - Sabin. The map is an attractive depiction of the thirteen states. The RECHERCHES PHILOSOPHIQUES... "took the pessimistic position that the evil effects on humanity of the discovery of America far outweighed the good" (Echeverria & Wilkie). Mandrillon did concede, however, that the newly-independent British colonies would "civilize" the North American continent, and that eventually the Old World would be surpassed by the New. HOWES M248, "aa." SABIN 44238, 44239. MONAGHAN 1023. ECHEVERRIA & WILKIE 784/75.