[FRANKLIN, Benjamin / LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, le duc de / COURT DE GEBELIN , Antoine / ROBINET, Jean-Baptiste-René / GENET, Edme-Jacques / BANCROFT, Edward / ADAMS, John, etc.] Affaires de l’Angleterre et de l’Amérique


Affaires de l’Angleterre et de l’Amérique by Benjamin Franklin
Scarce collection of six issues of this political publication dedicated to the defence of the independence of Americans, preserved in their contemporary wrappers in the editor’s covers. Antwerp [Paris], 1777-1779.

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Antwerp [Paris, Pissot], 1777-1778 [1779].

Only 6 parts 8vo [218 x 140 mm] (out of 82 published) numbered XVIII to XXI and LVIII – LIX. Our copy is composed of: Vol. 1: quire XVIII: pp. 57 to 88 and cxxxiii to clxxvi; vol. 2: quire XIX: pp. 89 to 120 and clxxvii to ccxviii, (1) bl.l., 11 pp. of table and index ; vol. 3: quire XX: pp. 121 to 160 and ccxix to ccliv; vol. 4: quire XXI: 32 pp., lii pp. ; vol. 5: quire LVIII: pp. clxi to ccxlviii; vol. 6: quire LIX: pp. 257 to 288, pp. ccxlix to ccliv, pp. cclv to cclxiv are missing, pp. cclxv to ccxc, (1) l. of notice. Preserved in the original blue printed wrappers (at the printer’s address of Pissot), some wears on the covers. Untrimmed. Contemporary bindings.

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Scarce collection of six issues of this publication dedicated to the defence of the independence of Americans, witness of the independence war of the United States of America and sign that French revolution is on its way. Leclerc, Bibliotheca Americana, 2464 ; Barbier, Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes, I, 76. « A most important collection for the period of the revolution of the United-States. It was written by Franklin, Court de Gébelin, Robinet, etc., during the years 1776-1779. The publication was made by quires; after a certain number of issues, titles and tables were printed for each volume. » (Leclerc) « Harvard College Library possesses a copy of this scarce work » (O. Rich, Bibliotheca Americana nova, n°102). The present periodical was founded and written by Edme-Jacques Genet, chief of the interpreters department at the Foreign Office, under the control of the minister Vergennes. The main contributors to this publication are Antoine Court de Gébelin, La Rochefoucauld d’Anville, Edward Bancroft and Jean-Baptiste Robinet. The American documentation was notably provided by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, who also took part in the translation and the writing. « It is a chronological collection of facts and discussions to be used for the political History of England and its colonies. »

« In 1776 there was commenced at Paris, though with the imprint of “Anvers” a periodical called “Affaires de l’Angleterre et de l’Amérique”, which was published for about 4 years and was, according to Barbier, edited by Benjamin Franklin, Antoine Court de Gébelin, Jean Baptiste René Robinet…As its title indicates, it was devoted to the history of the American Revolution. The plan of the work was to print in diary form a narrative of events, to reprint from newspapers and pamphlets matter of especial interest and to give the inside political history and parliamentary proceedings of Great Britain. The work is one of singular value for the history of the period covered; (…) it was clearly intended to (…) give the French people accurate information concerning the causes and progresses of the war and encourage them with their sympathy for the American cause.” (Paul Leicester Ford, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Jul., 1889), pp. 222-226). Antoine Court de Gébelin (1725-1784) is a famous French scholar. « The civil and political freedom found in him a generous advocate, and it is in order to spread its principles that he took part, with Franklin, Robinet and a few other writers, in a publication dedicated to the defence of the independence of Americans that was published under this title: ‘Affaires de l’Angleterre et de l’Amérique’ (1776 et suiv., 15 vol. 8vo) » (Nouvelle Biographie générale, XII, 216-218). As early as August 1776, the documents that gave birth to America travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to be translated and published for the French readers, thirteen years before France experienced its own Revolution. Each issue contains a letter signed by a “Banquier de Londres” (London banker), since identified as the duke of La Rochefoucauld d’Anville. A precious copy of this scarce political publication preserved in the most enviable condition, in wrappers, uncut, with the blue editor’s covers. Touching provenance of a “Founding Father” of the United Stated of North America: handwritten note « Henry Drayton, membre député de la Caroline, auprès des États-Unis d’Amérique » on the covers of the two quires dated 1778. William Henry Drayton (1742 –1779) was at the same time a farmer and a lawyer in Charleston, in South Carolina. He worked as a delegate representing South Carolina at the Continental Congress in 1778 and 1779. Only 4 French public Institutions own this rare publication: B.n.F., Libraries of Aix-en-Provence, Grenoble and Clermont-Ferrand. The copy of the B.n.F. did not preserve the editor’s covers with the address of Pissot.

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[FRANKLIN, Benjamin / LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, le duc de / COURT DE GEBELIN , Antoine / ROBINET, Jean-Baptiste-René / GENET, Edme-Jacques / BANCROFT, Edward / ADAMS, John, etc.]