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[EXQUEMELIN, Alexandre Olivier]

Histoire des Avanturiers,

qui se sont signalez dans les Indes, contenant ce qu'ils ont fait de plus remarquable depuis vingt annees.

Published: Paris: Jacques Le Febure, 1688

Stock code: 39058

Price: £3,000

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Second French edition. Sabin describes the first French edition, published two years previously to this, as “of extreme rarity”. Translated by Frontignières, who utilized the Spanish edition of 1681 but made substantial revisions and additions, possibly in consultation with Exquemelin’s manuscript. A highly popular and influential account of pirates in the Caribbean, Hill says of Exquemelin that he was “the inspiration for a vast number of novels, plays, and imaginary voyages.” A Huguenot native to Honfleur, Exquemelin left France in 1666 as an indentured servant bound for the Antilles. On Tortuga, he was sold to a nefarious government officer, and later resold to a doctor who taught him some of the skills of a barber-surgeon, offered Exquemelin his freedom for a price, and gave him a few surgical tools. By the end of the 1660’s, Exquemelin became a flibustier, or privateer. He probably served with Jean-David Nau l’Olonnais, and participated in the raid of Maracaibo in 1669. He later took part in Henry Morgan’s sack of Panama in 1670-71. Soon thereafter, Exquemelin abandoned piracy, returned to Europe, and studied medicine in Amsterdam, where he completed this account. He later returned to America several times as a ship’s surgeon aboard Dutch and Spanish vessels. He writes in considerable detail about raids upon various settlements throughout the West Indies, fights with Indians, encounters with other pirates, and acts of torture committed by the marauding bands upon the region’s inhabitants. Although some of his dates are questionable, Exquemelin’s account is considered among the most reliable of the period.

2 volumes bound in one, small octavo. (157 97 mm). Contemporary mottled sheep trade binding, raised bands to the spine, double fillet panel containing floral device gilt to the compartments. Engraved general title, 3 folding maps, and 4 illustrations to the text, 3 of them full-page. Light browning throughout, occasional marginal stains, mild damp-staining to the last few leaves, worming to the upper portion of one of the maps, costing three letters, professionally repaired with letters provided in MS facsimile, slightly rubbed, joints, head- and tail-cap skilfully restored, new label.

Bibliography: Sabin 23476; NMM Cat. IV, 177; Hill 577-579.

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