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LA ROCHEFOUCAULD-LIANCOURT, François-Alexandre-Frédéric, duc de.

Voyage dans les États-Unis d'Amérique,

fait en 1795, 1796 et 1797.

Paris: chez Du Pont, Buisson, Charles Pougens, An VII de la République [1799] Stock Code: 114358
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Presentation from the author's son to the US Secretary of State

First edition, presentation copy of this important account of travels in the United States and Canada during the last decade of the 18th century, inscribed by the author's son, François XIII, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1765-1848), to Edward Livingston, who served as US Secretary of State in 1831-3: "Offert a M. Edouard Livingston envoyé extraordinnaire et Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats d'amérique, près S. M, le Roi des français en 1834: par le fils ainé de l'auteur" (half-title verso in Volume 1). A social reformer and a democrat, La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt (1747-1827), spent five years in exile in North America during the Terror. His travel journals, published upon his return to France, are an incredibly detailed account of the emerging United States and precede Tocqueville's better-known account by thirty years. As he travelled with five companions, covering most of the United States and Upper Canada, La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt jotted down his impressions spanning social conditions, industry, geology, flora, fauna, climate etc. He observed the relations between the white and Indian populations and remarked on the detrimental effects of alcohol. He abruptly returned to France when he learnt that he would not be allowed to visit Lower Canada. A four-volume edition and the first English and German translations were also published in 1799.

Provenance: Edward Livingston (1764-1836) United States Secretary of State, 1831-3, Congressional Representative for Louisiana and New York; by descent to Cora Livingston Barton (1806-1873) (Montgomery Place bookplate on front pastedowns); by descent to John Ross Delafield (1874-1964) American Lawyer (bookplate on front pastedowns, sold Christie's New York, 16 May 1986, lot 47); Jean R. Perrette, American collector of travel and exploration books (bookplate to front pastedowns). An interesting early Franco-American association.

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8 volumes, octavo (200 x 120 mm). Contemporary French brown quarter calf, twin dark brown morocco labels, raised bands, central tools to compartments in gilt and black, marbled boards, edges and endpapers. Pages 234-42 of Volume 8 wrongly printed 236-44.


Three folding maps, showing the Northern and Southern parts and the United States as a whole, 9 folding tables.


Uneven discolouration to spines, short split to head of front joint of Volume 8, heads of spines of Volumes 1,2, 5 and 7 lightly chipped, mild rubbing to boards, short closed tear to last leaf of Volume 8, tiny hole to fore margin of pp. 157-8 in Volume 6, affecting a couple of letters, small production flaw losses to corners of a few leaves, occasional faint dampstaining. A very good set.


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