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EXPLORATORY TRAVELS THROUGH THE WESTERN TERRITORIES OF NORTH AMERICA: COMPRISING A VOYAGE FROM ST. LOUIS, ON THE MISSISSIPPI, TO THE SOURCE OF THAT RIVER, AND A JOURNEY THROUGH THE INTERIOR OF LOUISIANA, AND THE NORTH-EASTERN PROVINCES OF NEW SPAIN. PERFORMED IN THE YEARS 1805, 1806, 1807
London. 1811.. [4],vi,[2],[v]-xx,436pp. plus two maps (one folding). Half title. Quarto. Contemporary sheep, spine gilt, marbled endpapers and edges. Boards a bit scuffed and stained, joints worn. Later bookplate on front pastedown. Light foxing and minor offsetting to maps and facing pages. Clean internally, very good. Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand's copy, with his library stamp on the verso of the front free endpaper, reading "Bibliotheque de Valençay." Talleyrand, one of the great survivors of French history, managed to navigate his way from being a bishop prior to the French Revolution, serve as a minister and close advisor to Napoleon, aid in deposing him, and serve again as a key minister of the restored Royal government. His cynical brand of power politics make him one of the most interesting figures of his era. This is an extraordinary association copy, since Talleyrand, as Napoleon's Foreign Minister, was responsible for both the acquiring and sale by France of the areas explored by Zebulon Pike a few years later. In 1800, in the Treaty of San Idelfonso, Spain ceded France control of the Louisiana territory, a vast and fertile area stretching northwest from New Orleans, and encompassing about 827,000 square miles. Napoleon briefly entertained a grand strategy in the Americas, but abandoned it in early 1803, as imminent war between France and England convinced him that his dreams of American empire would de thwarted, since British naval superiority made communication impossible. On the principal that the enemy of his enemy was his friend, in a move that dramatically altered American history, Napoleon empowered Talleyrand, his Foreign Minister, to offer the entire Louisiana Territory to the Americans and thus keep it out of British hands. On April 11, 1803, Talleyrand allegedly asked the American minister Robert Livingston, "What will you give for the whole?" A few weeks later, the United States agreed to pay France just over $11 million for the entire territory, roughly three cents an acre. Once Louisiana was acquired, President Jefferson dispatched the expeditions of Lewis & Clark and Zebulon Pike to survey the new territory. This is Pike's report of the first United States expedition to the Southwest, here in the handsome first British edition. One of the most important American travel books, including accounts of Pike's explorations on the Mississippi, Red, and Arkansas rivers, Texas, and the Spanish settlements in New Mexico. The maps present in this edition are the "Map of the Interior Part of Louisiana" and a reduced version of the map of the Mississippi. The Pike expedition stands with the narratives of Lewis and Clark, and Long, as the most important of the early books on western exploration. The six-page Preface and one leaf of General Contents at the beginning of this copy are actually intended for David McPherson's THE HISTORY OF THE EUROPEAN COMMERCE WITH INDIA, published the next year by the same publisher. The entire Pike work is present. A remarkable association copy of the minister who brokered the entire Louisiana Territory's sale to the United States. WAGNER-CAMP 9:2. RITTENHOUSE 467 (note). HOWES P373. GRAFF 3292. FIELD 1218. STREETER TEXAS 1047.
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2014-11-01           Check availability:      Biblio    

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