Venice: Dalle Stampe di Antonio Zatta, 1778. Softcover. 2 vols., 8vo: lii, 288; iv, 294 pp. Bound in original Italian decorated paper boards, original printed paper label on spine. Preserved in a brown cloth protective case. Very good. Item #814
BEAUTIFUL COPY of one of the early sources of the birth of the United States. Scarce first Italian edition preserved in original unsophisticated condition. This well-known work was published only four years after the Boston Tea Party and offers a strictly contemporary account of the American Revolution, here given by an erudite, impartial observer. Contents: VOLUME ONE contains 14 chapters: 1. History of Canada; 2. History of Hudson Bay; 3. History of Terranova Island; 4. History of New Scotland; 5. History of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut forming New England; 6. History of New York; 7. History of New Jersey; 8. History of Pennsylvania; 9. History of Virginia; 10.History of Maryland; 11.History of Carolina; 12.History of Georgia; 13.History of Florida; 14. History of Louisiana. VOLUME TWO contains 10 chapters on American Independence and the Civil War: 1. Population of Anglo-American Provinces; 2. Advantages of living in North America colonies; 3. Governments established in British Colonies of North America; 4. Coins of North America; 5. Industry and Commerce Restrictions for British colonies of North America; 6. Questions about the right of England to establish certain impositions on the colonies of North America; 7. English Taxation of the Colonists; 8. British-imposed restrictions; 9. Colonies to break ties with England; 10. Cooperation of European Nations toward the Independence of the Colonies. -- Guillaume Thomas Francois Raynal (1713-1796), was a leading Enlightenment philosopher and writer, that was educated at the Jesuit school and received priest's orders, but he was dismissed for unexplained reasons. Raynal wrote an history of British Parliament (L'Histoire du parlement d'Angleterre, London, 1748) but he is renowned for his major work about European commerces in New World (L'Histoire philosophique et politique des etablissements et du commerce des Europeens dans les deux Indes, Amsterdam, 1770). This account of his observations of plantation societies in the Americas portrayed the horrors of colonial slavery and predicted the end of European colonialism in the Americas. Raynal was also a gifted polemicist and supporter of the American Revolution. In his 1782 pamphlet, Revolution d'Amerique, written before the war concluded and published simultaneously in France and America, Raynal justified American independence and France's participation in the war. He advised the newborn United States to avoid the pitfalls that had plagued "old" Europe since the 16th century -- greed, empire-building, and religious intolerance. Raynal dreamed a peaceful revolution also in France: but he realized the impossibility of this, and, in terror of the proceedings for which the writings of himself and his friends had prepared the way, he sent to the Constituent Assembly an address, which was read on 1791, deprecating the violence of its reforms. During the Terror, Raynal lived in retirement at Passy and at Montlhery. On the establishment of the Directory in 1795 he became a member of the newly organized Institute of France, one year before his death. The American War of Independence was an international matter from its very beginning. The conflict involved participants from the British Isles, France, Germany, Africa, and the Caribbean -- not to mention the diverse populations of the 13 colonies and the many Native American tribes. This linguistic, cultural, and political diversity was also reflected in contemporary writings about the conflict. The earliest histories of the American Revolution, written between 1783 and 1815, self-consciously crafted narratives that celebrated republican institutions and the pursuit of liberty and freedom. These works aimed to create a unified, "national" history. They did not reflect the forebodings of earlier observers, such as Raynal, who saw the many real and potential conflicts that existed among the colonists, for example, the struggles between "patriots" and "loyalists." By the last decades of the 19th century, George Bancroft's History of the United States had all but erased from the story both the British loyalists and, more importantly, the initial purpose of the North American colonies as political and economic extensions of Great Britain. In France, meanwhile, the history of the American Revolution became linked to that of the French Revolution by way of the marquis de La Fayette, who played important roles in both events. With the rise of diplomatic history and a second wave of European colonization at the end of the 19th century, the earlier Franco-British imperial rivalry assumed greater prominence in the work of many European historians of the American Revolution, just as it did in the work of Francis Parkman and other historians in the United States. -- A folio edition of the work (with illustrations) was printed by Zatta in the same year (1778). Two years later (in 1780) a third octavo volume appeared, entitled "Storia dell'America Settentrionale in continuazione di quella del sig. ab. Raynal fino alla primavera del 1799." ¶ PROVENANCE: early inscription inside front covers of both volumes: "Per me Ippolito Calini" (presumably Conte Ippolito Calini, of Mairano). ¶ A beautiful copy. ¶ Sabin 68109.