Paris: Chez Claude Morlot, ruë de la Bucherie, aux vieilles Estuves, 1649. First Edition. Small 4to. 8 pp., collated: [A]2 B2 (A2v blank). Title-page woodcut (see below). Recent wrappers of old paper; possibly a washed (?) copy. Very good. Item #3861
FORESEEING AMERICA AS A WORLD POWER IN 1649; NOT IN ALDEN-LANDIS.
This curious little plaquette has been quite overlooked by specialists of European Americana. Whereas it contains only eight pages, "Amerique" (which includes "les deux Ameriques") is referenced three times, "Perou" twice, and "Mexique" twice.
Herein American influence is predicted, as is a huge comet over Jerusalem (its head the shape of an elephant, the tail that of a dragon), a punishment against mankind for engaging in warcraft.
Cantamessa explains: "Contrary to what I had believed (following a negligent reading of this plaquette), it is not a Mazarinade at all, but a real astrological prediction of an unusual format compared to the French ones of the time, and of the previous and following centuries. The anonymous author formulates his synthetic forecasts, of an optimistic slant, which divides the world geographically into four parts (according to the 'Methode des Anciens Geographes'), and considers Europe 'the most noble place in the universe.'" The four parts of the globe are: Europe, Asia, Africa, and "the Two Americas."
The rudely-carved title-page woodcut illustrates the sun, moon, and stars; from clouds issue two hands, one holding a sphere, the other a compass. This little vignette continues an iconographic tradition which began in 1568, when it was first employed by Benoist Rigaud in the complete "Propheties."
This plaquette is not uncommon, it does not appear to have been digitized. Cantamessa located copies at the Sorbonne, Sainte Geneviève, BNF, Bibl. Mun. Lyon, Victor Cousin Library, Paris, Royal Danish Library Copenhagen, Nukat Library Warsaw, Herzog-August-Bibliothek, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek Weimar, BYU, Kansas, Newberry, and Houghton.
Cantamessa, BiblioAstrology (online) no. 463. Caillet I, 490. Dorbon 157.