Paris, veuve de G. Pelé, 1643.
16mo [170 x 106 mm] of (1) bl. l., 223 pp., (1) bl. p. Printed ex libris on title-page. Bound in contemporary limp full vellum, flat spine with the handwritten title. Contemporary binding.
First edition of this refutation by Jean de Laet of Grotius’ theories about the origin of primitive populations of America. Field, An Essay towards an Indian Bibliography, 846; Sabin 38561; Willems 997 (for the issue produced in Amsterdam).
“Notes on the Dissertation of Hugo Grotius on the Origin of the American Indians and other Observations to facilitate the Understanding of some difficult Questions upon them.” (Field)
“This is Laet’s first refutation of Grotius. It contains, pp. 139-151, comparative vocabularies of the Irish, Gaelic, Icelandish, Huron, Souriquois, and Mexican languages. Some copies have the imprint, Amstelodami, Apud Ludovicum Elzivirium.” (Sabin)
« Grotius had published in Paris in 1642 an essay, in which he was trying to prove that primitive populations from America owed their origins to people arrived from Norway, Ethiopia, and China. This opuscule was entitled: ‘Hug. Grotii de origine gentium Americanarum dissertatio’, 1642. Laet reprinted it with a very judicious commentary, in which he emphasized the inanity of the arguments put forward in support of this peculiar thesis. This refutation offended Grotius’ self-respect who immediately wrote a ‘Dissertatio altera de origine gentium Americanarum, adversus obtrectatorem, opaca quem bonum facit barba’, 1643. The words ‘opaca quem bonum facit barba’ are borrowed from Catullus and refer to J. de Laet’s beard, which was apparently very long. Such insults were, as we know, in the manner of that time.» (Willems)
The work contains Grotius’ dissertation and also a lexicon of the main terms of the various proto american languages.
It turns out to be a very interesting source for the history of linguistics.
A beautiful copy of this work dealing with the origin of the primitive populations of America, preserved in its original limp vellum binding.