Item #2252 [La Reprinse de la Floride] La Reprise de la Floride, Par le Capitaine de Gourgue. Dominique de Gourgues, Pierre de Vaquieux.
[La Reprinse de la Floride] La Reprise de la Floride, Par le Capitaine de Gourgue.
Gourgues' Recapture of Florida in 1568

[La Reprinse de la Floride] La Reprise de la Floride, Par le Capitaine de Gourgue.

[France]: [18th century]. Manuscript in French on paper, in ink, by a neat hand. In contemporary calf, gilt turn-ins and spine with five raised bands, gilt compartments, and red morocco title label with gilt lettering. Edges gilt. Marbled endpapers. Calligraphic title in a floral frame, colored in blue, red, and gold. [2 (blank)] [119] [3 (blank)] p. Binding slightly rubbed at the extremities. Front free endpaper with old restoration, barely visible. Sporadic foxing throughout. Otherwise in very good condition.

An 18th-century manuscript copy of this exceedingly rare and principal document of the French experience in Florida, the account of Dominique de Gourgues' revenge on the Spaniards in Florida in 1568.

In 1564 a French colonial settlement, Fort Caroline (today Jacksonville), was established in Florida, serving partly a territorial claim in French Florida and partly a safe haven for Huguenots during the French Wars of Religion. However a French presence in the New World did not sit well in Spain, thus Phillip II, King of Spain, who considered the Huguenots to be dangerous heretics, ordered Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the Spanish admiral and founder of the nearby settlement St. Augustine, to eliminate them. On September 20, 1565, Fort Caroline was sacked by Spanish troops under Menéndez and slaughtered everyone in the fort except for the women and children. As a response, in April 1568, a French Catholic nobleman and soldier Dominique de Gourgues led a French force against the Spanish-held Fort Caroline, which had been renamed Fort San Mateo, and with the help of Indian allies, he captured the fort and murdered the Spanish prisoners as an act of revenge for the slaughter of his Protestant compatriots.

According to Gourgues' biographer Jeannette Thurber Connor, his extraordinary expedition to the east coast of Florida and its dramatic and picturesque narrative “La Reprise de la Floride” was supposedly penned during the year 1570 either by de Gourgues himself or his lifelong friend and executor of his will Pierre de Vaquieux, but historians disagree on the authorship of the text. (Connor, 1968 p. 199)

Contemporary and near-contemporary manuscript copies of the text are held only in two libraries, the Bibliotèque national de France (BnF), and at the Library of Congress (part of the Hans P. Kraus Collection of Hispanic American manuscripts; item no. 144/27, part of a collection of manuscript materials regarding Dominique de Gourgues and his family). Leland in his Guide (Leland, 1932) just as Bennett in the introduction to Connor's Gourgues-biography report about five existing manuscript copies (Bennett, 1968). The latest reference we could find on the matter is in Jonathan DeCoster's 2013 paper in the Florida Historical Quarterly, who reports about seven (DeCoster, 2013). J. Benedict Warren in his Guide claims that besides the copy in the Kraus Collection, only “[s]ix other manuscript versions are known to exist, all of which are now in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris”, of which the oldest, dates from the late 16th century (MSS Fr. 20794), three are of the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century and are from the hand of the copyist Robert Leprevost (MSS Fr.: 2145, 6124, and 19899), a copy from later in the 17th century which contains notable variants from the earlier readings (MSS Fr.: 3884) and “[t]he last one, Nouvelles acquisitions 14755, is a 19th-century copy of one of the others and can be left out of the discussion” (Warren, 1974), the priors agree with Leland's list.

Until the mid-19th-century only summarized versions of the text appeared in printing, a variant under the title Histoire memorable de la reprinse de l'isle de la Floride was published already in 1568 (La Rochelle, Barthélemy Berton) of which only one copy survived and kept at the Bibliotèque Mazarine in Paris. Another abridged versions was printed in La Popelinière's Les Trois Mondes (Paris, 1582) and in René Laudonnière's L'Histoire Notable de la Floride (Paris, 1586). Complete French editions were printed in the 19th century, the first in 1835 by Jules Antoine Taschereau in Revue retrospective ((based on MSS Fr.: 3884), later by Henri Ternaux-Compans (Recueil de pièces sur la Floride, 1841; based on MSS Fr.: 19899), Tamizey de Larroque (La Reprise de la Floride, 1867; based on MSS Fr.: 2145) and Paul Gaffarel (Histoire de la Floride française, 1875; based on MSS Fr.: 2145, 3884, and 6124) (Warren, 1974). The first English translation was made by Jeannette Thurber Connor, based on MSS Fr.: 20794, and published in Bennett's Settlement of Florida, in 1968.

Provenance: With a handwritten ex-libris vignette “DeHansy”, likely a member of the Paris-based bookseller and publisher Dehansy family, e.g. Claude III (1696–1742), Théodore (1700–1771), Honoré-Clément (1736–1808) or another descendant.

Literature: Bennett, Ch. E.: Settlement of Florida. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1968.; Connor, J. Th.: The Connor Biography. In: Bennett, Ch. E.: Settlement of Florida. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1968. pp. 186–202; DeCoster, J.: “Entangled Borderlands: Europeans and Timucuans in Sixteenth-Century Florida.” The Florida Historical Quarterly. 91.3 (2013): pp. 375–400.; Leland, Waldo Gifford: Guide to Materials for American History in the Libraries and Archives of Paris. Vol. 1. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1932.; Warren, J. B.: Hans P. Kraus Collection of Hispanic American Manuscripts: A Guide. Washington: Library of Congress, 1974.

Price: €65,000.00