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Observations sur la Virginie, Par M. J***. Traduites de l'Anglois
chez Barrois l'ainé, French translation by the Abbé André Morellet. Paris 1786 - (7 5/8 x 4 3/4 inches). Half-title, 4pp.errata. 1 folding letterpress table, 1 folding engraved 'Map of the country between Albermarle Sound and, Lake Erie, comprehending the whole of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, with parts of several other of the United States' by Samuel Neale, uncoloured and printed on two joined sheets (as issued). Contemporary French marbled calf, the covers bordered with single blind fillets, the flat spine divided into eight unequal compartments by gilt double fillets, red morocco lettering-piece in the second compartment, the others variously tooled with small tools and floral tools, marbled endpapers (minor wear to the head and foot of the spine), contained in a recent leather-backed cloth box, 'spine' tooled and lettered in gilt Provenance: Sam Harrison (inscription dated 1788); Jean Patterson (inscriptions in both French and English) A fine unsophisticated copy of the first published edition of this enduring American classic, with Jefferson's highly important map in its first state. This is the rare Paris edition of the French translation of Jefferson's 'Notes on the State of Virginia'. The first edition of Notes. was printed privately for Jefferson in 1785 in an edition of 200 copies, which he distributed to personal friends. Initially, Jefferson had resisted the idea of publishing the work so that it could reach a larger audience. However, the widespread interest the book aroused soon led to rumors that a pirated edition would appear, and to forestall this, regular published editions came out with his blessing in French (the present work, Observations. translated by the Abbe Morallet and published in Paris in 1786) and in English (London, 1787) soon followed by an American edition (Philadelphia, 1788.) The work ultimately went through several dozen editions before his death, and remains in print today. This is the only book-length work published during Jefferson's lifetime and is a cornerstone of any collection of printed Americana. The first private edition is virtually unobtainable, making this edition not only the first published edition, but also the first which is even remotely obtainable. The map, here in its first state, is an important document in its own right and was engraved by Samuel J. Neale in London from a drawing produced (at the urging of Morallet) by Jefferson himself specifically for this edition. "The Abbe engaged me to make a map . It is on a single sheet 23 inches square, and very closely written . tho' it is on the scale of only an inch to twenty miles . I answer for the exactness of the reduction. I have supplied some new places. Tho' the first object which induced me to undertake it was to make a map for my book, I soon extended my view to the making as good a map of those countries as my materials would admit" (Jefferson, letter to Edward Bancroft). Coolie Verner goes into the details of the production of the map: Neele completed the initial engraving on 21 December 1786 and immediately despatched the printing plate with proofs to Paris. Unfortunately, a problem with the original drawing meant that there were numerous errors in the printing plate. Jefferson corrected a proof which was given, together with the printing plate to the Parisian engraver Guillaume Delahaye. The engraver corrected the errors and was able to deliver 250 proofs to Jefferson on 24 March 1787. This first impression was printed on thick paper and was hand-coloured in outline, the paper was too thick to allow for the map to be folded and copies were eventually offered for sale as individual maps - this much is known from correspondence and contemporary advertisements, but no examples of this impression are currently known to exist. After Delahaye completed his work he delivered the printing plate to the publisher Barrois. Jefferson asked Barrois to arrange for the printing of 200 copies of the map on thinner paper so that it could be inserted in copies of the private edition of his No [Attributes: First Edition; Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Donald A. Heald Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2015-09-27           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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