Skip to product information
1 of 2

Abbé Raynal, Autograph manuscript on Central American colonial history, [after 1777].

Regular price
€1.200,00 EUR
Regular price
Sale price
€1.200,00 EUR

Raynal on Central American colonial history


[Guillaume-Thomas François “Abbé” Raynal (1713-1796)].

Autograph manuscript.

No place, [after 1777-1796].


4°. 1 p. on laid paper with fleur-de-lis watermark. With a loose engraved portrait of Raynal.


Extensive autograph notes in French by Abbé Raynal on William Robertson’s history of Central America in The History of America (1777), particularly discussing Mexican early colonial history. This autograph is not signed but based on matches with other signed autographs by Raynal we can safely attribute it to him.
               Raynal was a leading 18th century opponent of colonialism and slavery, best known for his Histoire philosophique et politique des établissements et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes (1770), a veritable encyclopedia of anti-colonialism in the 18th century in which he bitingly denounces slavery. The manuscript that we offer here is a striking example of his method of compiling other authors’ works, in this case that of Robertson. Wiliam Robertson (1762-1793) contributed to the history of Spanish America in his History of America (1777), the first sustained attempt to describe the discovery, conquest and settlement of Spanish America since Herrera's Décadas. Raynal produced many works on colonialism, about the Americas in particular. Another famous work of his is Révolution de l’Amérique (1781), first published in London where he was in exile.
               In this manuscript Raynal quotes several parts of Robertson’s Mexican history that he found noteworthy and adds his own views, for example: “the picture [Cortes and companions] have drawn of the police and laws of Mexico is superficial and confused. The obscurity in which the ignorance of the conquerors of Mexico left the annals of this country is still increased by the superstition of their successors. As the memory of past events was preserved among the Mexicans by painted figures [...] the first missionaries, unable to understand the meaning of these figures and struck by their bizzarreness, considered them as idolatry monuments that had to be destroyed to facilitate the conversion of the Indians [...]". The following notes concern other Latin American countries.

Condition: notes in pencil in top and foot margin, otherwise in very good condition.

Contact us to make reservation