Paris: P. Didot, l'aine, 1816. This volume includes an engraving of the only authentic likeness of Benedict Arnold, the Du Simitiere portrait drawn from life, when Arnold was still a hero of the early Revolution.
Pierre Eugene Du Simitiere settled in Philadelphia in 1766, became a large collector of books and specimens, and in 1782 opened the collection to the public as the ‘American Museum’. In the 1770s Du Simitiere drew portraits from life of the famous figures of the Revolution, including Benedict Arnold, who was military governor of the city in 1779. This Arnold portrait is the only one known to have been drawn at an actual sitting. Du Simitiere's engravings of the American revolutionary figures were first published in Paris, in “Collection des Portraits des Generaux, Ministres & Magistrats”; the portrait of Arnold was done in profile, facing right, and in the form of a circular framed medallion.
The author of this account, Francois Barbe-Marbois (1735 - 1847), was a dexterous French diplomat whose career spanned almost 50 years. He was one of the first diplomats to serve in America, where he organized France’s consular offices. Following the French Revolution he was exiled to Guiana, but later made councilor state and secretary of the treasury by Napoleon. Barbe-Marbois was a key player in the Louisiana Purchase and was in charge of government finance and auditing for Napoleon. After Napoleon, he helped formulate and draft the founding document of the Restoration government, and was granted titles by Louis XVIII.
Extra illustrated first edition, with an engraved portrait of the author. 8vo, , 44, 184 pp, map (plan of West Point) uncut. Plain French paper wraps, the wraps a bit toned, the paper spine label a bit darkened. Housed in half leather and green cloth slipcase, the leather at spine gently rubbed. Howes B114; Sabin 3302. Very good condition. Item #21477