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French Language translations or about the French

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  • The Secret History of White-Hall from the Restoration of Charles II Down to the Abdication of the late K[ing] James. – David Jones – First Edition 1697

    The Secret History of White-Hall from the Restoration of Charles II Down to the Abdication of the late K[ing] James. – David Jones – First Edition 1697

    Lengthy title continues … “Writ at the Request of a Noble Lord, and conveyed to him in letters, by _________ interpreter to the Marquess of Louvois, who by that means had the perusal of all the private minutes between England and France for many years: the whole consisting of a secret memoirs, which have hitherto lain conceal’d, as not being discoverable by any other hand / publish’d from the original papers, by D Jones gent.

    A scarce first edition of an unusual work, published by R Baldwin, London in 1697. Six parts all bound in one volume. Octavo, 14, 80, 80, 80, 64,80,100. Bound in contemporary full calf, re-backed with red title label. Some rubbing and repair to joint, and pretty clean internally.

    One of the most interesting “Secret Histories” described by Lowndes as a ‘scandalous work”. Exposes the secret negotiations, treaties, liaisons, conspiracies, court scandals etc in the reigns of Charles Ii and James.

    David Jones (1776-1720), born at Llwynrhys, Wales, was a Captain in the Royal Regiment of Dragoons. He was at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. He spent much time on mainland Europe where he became fluent in modern languages and was appointed (as the title suggests) to serve the Marquis of Louvois, who was the French Minister for War. Jones was to publish several other “historical accounts”, including the History of the Turks.

    Scarce 17thC account of the goings on during the reigns of Charles II and James II (of England).



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  • The Expedition of the St Jean-Baptiste to the Pacific 1769-1770

    The Expedition of the St Jean-Baptiste to the Pacific 1769-1770

    A most interesting Hakluyt production. This expedition, conducted at the time of Cook’s first voyage, had dropped off the radar until the brilliant John Dunmore produced this work based on the journals of Captain Jean de Surville and First Officer Guillaume Labe.

    Published by Hakluyt in 1981, octavo 310 pages illustrated with maps, facsimile pages from journals etc. Original blue cloth covered boards with gilt design, dust jacket, a very good copy.

    Jean- Francois- Marie de Surville (1717-1770) was a merchant captain with the French East India Company. This was his only exploratory endeavour. He died in Peru without having completed his objective. In 1769 he was given command of the Saint Jaen-Baptiste to look for trading opportunities in the Pacific. He entered the Pacific from the north west and rediscovered the Solomon Islands, then on to New Zealand where he missed crossing paths with James Cook by a matter of days. Crossing the Pacific to Peru was confident in having dismissed the existence of David Land. His crew were in a most unhealthy state with the scurvy and other ailments. He decided not to call at Juan Fernandez and sailed straight to Chlica to get help. The ocean was rough and Surville set off in a small boat which capsized, and he drowned. Command was transferred to Labe. The ship however was seized by the Spanish and held for two years before the vessel and the remaining crew were let go. Roughly one third survived to return to France.

    Despite these difficulties (understatement) the journals contain valuable information on the Solomons, observations on pre-colonial Maori society, and extraordinary picture of the hardships endured.

    Jean Surville on the St Jean Baptiste


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  • King Island and the Sealing Trade 1802 – Helen Micco

    King Island and the Sealing Trade 1802 – Helen Micco

    An important work regrading Tasmania’s King Island and the sealing trade at the very beginning of the 19th century.

    Put together by Helen Micco and published by Roebuck as part of their historical series. A first printing of 1971. Small quarto, 51 pages after preliminaries, 7 full page plates not included in the pagination. A particularly good copy. Carries the nicely style bookplate ex libris Gisborne Park, carefully affixed only at the top so as not to actually intrude on the endpaper map.

    Based around extracts from Francois Peron’s account of the Baudin voyage in Le Geographe and Le Naturaliste from 1800-1804 during which they visited King Island.

    After a description of the original documentation an outline of the voyage we have a translation of Peron’s work … “King Island: The Hunter Islands: The northwest part of Van Diemen’s Land. From 18th November to 27th December” 1802. And .. “History of the Sea Elephant or Trunked Seal: English fisheries in Southern Lands … the advantages that the English derive from the Seals of the Southern Lands.

    There follows a tribute to Peron and a series of Appendices including to and from Baudin and Governor King. Finishing with a useful note by Isobel Bennett of the Department of Zoology, Sydney University regarding the Australian wildlife mention in the voyage with reference to the illustration by Lesueur of which Voyager often has examples.

    King Island a magnificent place and an important part of its history.


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  • Wind Aloft Wind Alow – Marin-Marie

    Wind Aloft Wind Alow – Marin-Marie

    Single-handed crossings of the Atlantic under sail and then under power.

    Translated from the French, this edition 1947 by Peter Davies, London. Octavo, 322 pages. Book and jacket have received a scrunch in the top right, internally very clean. Jacket now in Brodart, a good copy. Nicely illustrated, some from the authors accomplished paintings

    Marin-Marie was the appointed “Painter to the French Ministry of Marine”. This is his super account of the Atlantic crossings first by sail in the Winnibelle and the under power in the Arielle. Sail occupying two thirds of the book. At the time he was the first to go it alone all the way across under power.

    A book full of the marine … quite technical in places re automatic steering, engines etc

    Marin-Marie twice across sail and power.



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  • The Crossing of the Copula – Jean Filloux – First English Edition 1955

    The Crossing of the Copula – Jean Filloux – First English Edition 1955

    A first English edition of Filloux’s adventure in the North Atlantic, translated by Gretchen Besser.

    Published by Collins. London in 1955. Octavo, 253 pages plus diagrams of the vessel, nicely illustrated throughout with images from photographs taken on the voyage. End paper maps on which one has dates written by a previous owner, helpful we think. A couple of snags to what is a complete dust jacket, a pretty good copy.

    Filloux, a penniless young engineer took a berth on the Copula, a 47 foot catamaran rigged like a Chinese Junk. They took their time. Thirteen months, to voyage from Bordeaux o New York … with time off in the Canaries (forced on them) and in the Windies having reached Martinique (chosen plan). Well written unusual account

    Copula across the Atlantic an round the Windies – not your usual vessel or adventurer.


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  • Les Volcans et les Tremblements de Terre – Arnold Boscowitz – First Edition 1866

    Les Volcans et les Tremblements de Terre – Arnold Boscowitz – First Edition 1866

    First edition published by Paul Ducrocq, Paris in 1866.

    Royal octavo (266mm x 175mm), 602 pages with 16 striking lithographs by Eugene Ciceri, toned with fiery highlights, and a further 40 wood engravings in the text. Publishers original red morocco backed pebble grain cloth covered boards with bevelled design. Spin gilt in compartments, raised bands, all page edges richly gilt, textured end papers. Some obvious marks to boards and closed crack on spine some patchy internal foxing, overall a good copy of a desirable book. Heavy book (1.6kg), may require an overseas postage supplement.

    Volcanologist / seismologist Boscovitz produced what is an important 19th Century survey of volcanoes and earthquakes. The impressive vies include … Vesuvius, Orizaba, Mount Etna, Cotopaxi, Kilauea Fire Lake, Stromboli, Popocatepetl, El Jorullo, geysers in Iceland, Hot Springs in New Zealand etc.

    Mid 19thC Volcano and Earthquake Classic with Striking Images.


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