Pau, 1831. 636pp., plus errata leaf. Half title. 19th-century half calf and cloth, spine gilt. Bookplate on front pastedown. A few light fox marks at very front and rear of text, else internally fresh and near fine. An exceedingly rare account of the Louisiana Purchase and its transfer to American control, written by the French colonial prefect for Louisiana and privately printed for his family. Pierre-Clément de Laussat formally received Louisiana Territory from Spain on Nov. 30, 1803 and transferred it to the American commissioners, William C.C. Claiborne and Gen. James Wilkinson, on Dec. 20. Laussat also supervised the transfer of the Spanish colonial archives to Spain and to American officials. This is Laussat's own account of his experiences in Louisiana from March 1803 to April 1804, comprising nearly a third of the text. In the rest of the volume he describes his duties in Martinique and French Guyana. Beers asserts that 100 copies were privately printed for Laussat. Howes locates only the Yale copy, and Monaghan finds a single copy only, at the Bibliothèque Municipale in Pau, in the Pyrenees region of southern France, where the book was printed. OCLC also notes copies at the Historic New Orleans Collection, the New Orleans Public Library, and Tulane. "This is one of the rarest items of Americana in the nineteenth century" - Monaghan. An exceptionally desirable firsthand account of the Louisiana Purchase by the highest French authority serving in the region, in original condition. HOWES L142, "d." MONAGHAN 940. SIEBERT SALE 695. OCLC 9766781. BEERS, FRENCH AND SPANISH RECORDS OF LOUISIANA, pp.20-24. (Inventory #: WRCAM51631)
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