Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

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A magnificent example of a highly influential work from the famous noble library of Alexandre de La Rochefoucauld. Following the publication of Louis Hennepin’s first work, the ‘Description de la Louisiane’ published in Paris, 1683, there were claims that he usurped the narrative of Robert Cavalier, Sieur La Salle. Hennepin (c.1640-c.1705) was banished from France for reasons unknown and fled to Utrecht about 1687. Indeed, Louis XIV later issued an edict ordering his arrest should he arrive at any French port. In 1697 Guillaume Broedelet published Louis Hennepin’s second work entitled ‘Nouvelle Decouverte …’. It contained the body of his first work and is updated with a new account inserted before the description of his voyage up the Mississippi River describing his journey down river to the mouth, and back. It is actually drawn from the journal of Father Zenobius Membré as published in the ‘Etablissement de la Roy dans la Nouvelle France’ by the Jesuit Chrestien Le Clerc in Paris, 1691 and is discounted as entirely fictional by authorities. Hennepin in fact claimed the reverse was the case.

One of the book’s chief claims to fame is containing the first illustration of Niagara Falls. Hennepin’s account of the Upper Mississippi has great significance as he had penetrated further west than any European recorded before him. Thwaites stated that his works were ‘invaluable contributions to the sources of American History; they deserve study, and to this day furnish rare entertainment. We can pardon much to our erratic friar, when he leaves us to such monuments as these.’ The work was first published in Utrecht the previous year. ‘The family of La Rouchefoucauld had been established in the annals of France for over six hundred years …’ (Sotheby’s). The library was begun by the sixth Duke, it was later successors who showed a fascination with voyages and travels. Amongst there circle was Benjamin Franklin and Lafayette. In fact, it was with the encouragement of Franklin that Jean-Baptiste-Louis-Frederic La Rouchefoucauld produced the first full translation of the American Constitution into French. He had a distinguished political career leading up to the French Revolution. In 1792 he was stoned to death whilst travelling with his wife and mother. A descendant travelled North America and published his account in French and English in 1799. Provenance Sotheby’s Monaco 8 December 1987 lot 581. Howes H416; JCB 698/ 103; Sabin 31350.


Nouvelle Decouverte d'un tres Grand Pays Situe dans L'Amerique, entre le Nouveau Mexique, et la mer Glaciale … Abraham van Someren

Amsterdam, 1698
CONTAINING THE FIRST ILLUSTRATION OF NIAGARA FALLS. Duodecimo, full contemporary calf, gilt boards bearing arms, raised bands to spine with gilt red calf title label. With 2 engraved folding maps and 2 engraved folding plates in excellent condition. With engraved frontispiece; (70), 313, (8 num 313*), pp. 315-506.
Stock number: 1731
$ 9,500
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