Rare first edition of the French translation of this important work, of the utmost interest for the history of Pennsylvania, aiming at wining the support of the French people whereas France is fighting against England in America. Sabin, 19370 ; Leclerc, 519 ; Howes, p. 216; Streeter II-960.
The abbot La Ville actually gives here his own version in French, largely augmented and revised, of William Smith’s work entitled “Brief state of the Province of Pennsylvania” that was just published in London a few month before. This work by the abbot La Ville turns out also to be an essential source of information about Benjamin Franklin’s activities during this time and most of all about his efforts to get help from General Braddock. Streeter explains that this work was indubitably published to gain the support of the French people whereas France is fighting against England in North America, after General Braddock’s defeat.
Smith’s text only deals with the central part of La Ville’s work and gives an idea of the atrocities perpetrated by the Indians on the members of the colony in October and November 1755, emphasizing the powerlessness of the English colonists to push back the French and their Indian allies. The author added a preface in which he briefly describes the geography and the population of Pennsylvania, and gave a sequel of Smith’s original text (‘Relation contenant la suite de ce qui s’est passé en Pensilvanie’). The volume concludes with a French translation of an Act of November 25, 1755, aiming at “imposing order & discipline on the Inhabitants of Pennsylvania”.
“In his preface the author remarks that Pennsylvania suffered more than any of the other English colonies from the defeat of General Braddock, and that he is publishing this work because of the great interest the French people took in the progress of the War with England. He says that he has based his account of Pennsylvania on an English pamphlet published a few months earlier. This pamphlet was William Smith’s “Brief state of the Province of Pennsylvania” published in London”. (Sabin).
The work is illustrated with a nice folding map of Pennsylvania that is often missing.
Very beautiful copy, very pure, preserved in its contemporary marbled calf binding with its decorated spine.
Provenance: printed ex-libris « O.B. ».