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2 EXQUEMELIN, A..the pirates of the Caribbean 106

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Description: The lifes and adventures of the pirates of the Caribbean

EXQUEMELIN, Alexandre Olivier (or: OEXMELIN).
Histoire des avanturiers qui se sont signalez dans les Indes, contenant ce qu'ils ont fait de plus remarquable depuis vingt années. Avec la vie, les moeurs, les coûtumes des habitans de Saint Domingue & de la Tortuë, & une description exacte de ces lieux. Où l'on voit l'établissement d'une chambre des comptes dans les Indes, & un etat, tiré de cette chambre, des offices tant ecclesiastiques que seculiers, où le roy d'Espagne pourvoit, les revenus qu'il tire de l'Amerique, & ce que les plus grands princes de l'Europe y possedent.



Paris, Jacques Le Febvre, 1688. 2 vols. Small 8vo. Contemporary marbled calf, spines ribbed and richly gilt with red title-labels, red mottled edges. With richly designed and engraved allegorical frontispiece, 3 folding engraved maps, 1 engraving in the text, and 3 full-page engraved plates, 1 showing a buccaneer smoking a pipe and standing with a rifle under a large palm tree with some dogs at his feet, and with 3 small scenes of pirate life depicted underneath, is signed by Gaspard Bouttats. (24), 448 (=248), (16); (6), 285, (17) pp.

Rare second French edition of one of the most famous books of the period, Exquemelin's account of the adventures, life, morals and customs of the pirates roaming the seas, together with a full description of the Caribbean where they mainly operated. The French edition was, just like the Dutch edition directly based on the original manuscript, and was adapted by Thomas de Frontigniers. Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin (1646-ca.1710), called Oexmelin by the French, was a chemist of French Protestant origin who spent several years with the pirates as a ship's surgeon. He took part in their daring exploits, like the expeditions of the notorious English buccaneer Henry Morgan (called John in the book) including his raid on Maracaibo in 1669, or a year later his attack on Panama.
The first edition of Exquemelin's eye witness account was published in Dutch in Amsterdam by Jan ten Hoorn in 1678, an edition so rare that it long escaped bibliographers. Exquemelin, who once before, in 1672, had shortly been in Amsterdam, returned there in 1677 to take the 'chirurgijn' exams he sorely needed to exercise this profession at Jamaica, where he had settled, and in 1679 he made his last 'proof'. Meanwhile he also offered his manuscript to the publisher's Ten Hoorn, who printed it in 1678. The book became immediately so polular that editions were published everywhere. The Spanish edition of 1681, probably also published in Amsterdam, was long taken for the first. The first French edition was published two years before the present, but both editions are equally extremely rare. In 1684 Exquemelin had sailed for France, and the captain of the ship, impressed with his stories, saw to it that Exquemelin's manuscript was made ready for publication.
The French edition, altough seemingly much the same as the first Dutch edition, from which most translations were made, proves by closer comparison to be considerably enlarged. Several extra chapters are added, mostly treating the natural history of the Spanish Americas, and the romantic figure of Monbars is found here for the first time. For both, the Dutch and French editions Exquemelin's manuscript had been adapted, but according to De la Fontaine, Verwey has kept the French edition the closest to the original.
The illustrations for the French edition were newly made as well, and where the Dutch edition mainly shows the portraits and atrocious acts of the pirates, the plates of the French edition pay more attention to the geographical and natural historical aspects, including for the fist time the plate with a buccaneer in hunting costume. Another plate shows the catching of turtles at night, and the illustration in the text shows a sea-cow, of which Exquemelin made a special study. The maps were also newly designed, with the help of Abbé Baudrand, who wanted to remain anonymous; they include a map of the Isthmus of Panama, drawn by Exquemelin himself. The book therefore, is an important 'Americanum' as well.
Of special interest are the two "Appendices" with an account of the possessions, revenues and offices of the Spaniards in America, including a complete list of all ecclesiastical functionaries in Spanish America, together with their salaries. No book in any language was ever the parent of so many imitations and the source of so many legends, and it still is popular today.

Fine copy, with the bookplates of Mr. Maynon de Farcheville.
Sabin 23476 (thinks the French edition like the English to be translated from the Spanish); Cat. Ned. Hist. Scheepv. Museum p. 877; cf. Cox II, p. 207 (Engl. ed. of 1685); Church 658 (first Dutch ed. of 1678), and 689 (Engl. ed. of 1684 and 1685); Hill 99-100 (English ed. of 1684 and 1685); not in Tiele; Muller, Popul. prozaschrijvers, 502 (Dutch ed. of 1700), etc.; see also: H. de la Fontaine Verwey, 'De Scheeps-Chirurgijn Exquemelin', in: De Wereld van het Boek II, p. 171 ff.
  • Number: 1060278
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