RÉPONSE AU PRÉCIS. POUR MESSIRE JEAN-BAPTISTE DE CASTERA...CONTRE Me. GARDON DE COLIERE...EN PRÉSENCE DU SIEUR LA VINCENDIERE, REÇU TIERS-OPPOSANT À L'ARRÊT DU 21 JANVIER 1754, DEMANDEUR & DÉFENDEUR [caption title]
by [Saint Domingue]
Port-au-Prince: De l'Imprimerie Royale, 1778. 20pp. Quarto. Stitched as issued. A few contemporary manuscript notations. Minor soiling and wear. Very good plus. A remarkably early Saint Domingue imprint, previously unrecorded. The quality of the printing and production puts most North American work of the same period to shame. The pamphlet is a response to a court case from 1754 involving nine casks of indigo, tried by Jean Baptiste de Castera as defendant and Gardon de Coliere and his spouse Marie-Francoise Lombard as the plaintiffs. This document outlines the facts of the case and refutes them, with a final "Consultation" throwing out the case against M. de Castera. The origins of printing in Saint Domingue, now Haiti, are obscure. The best contemporary source, Isaiah Thomas in his HISTORY OF PRINTING IN AMERICA, says that a press was established at Port-au-Prince as early as 1750, but this is uncertain since the earliest imprints do not survive. In American libraries we can locate a 1767 Port- au-Prince imprint at the Library Company of Philadelphia, while the earliest held by the John Carter Brown Library (which has by far the most extensive collection of very early Saint Domingue imprints, with about three dozen prior to 1785) is 1769. The earliest we have ever seen in the market was 1773. The survival rate of early Caribbean imprints is very low, and as a result all Caribbean printing from the 18th- century is quite rare. No copies of this item is located in OCLC, and it appears to be a unique survival. (Inventory #: WRCAM51345)
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