CHASTELLUX, François Jean, Marquis de (1734-1788). “Voyage en Amerique par monsieur le Marquis de C... officier general dans l'armee françoise.” - Jean Baptiste NOMPÈRE DE CHAMPAGNY, duc de Cadore (1756-1834). “Voyage en Amérique par Mr. le Cte. de C...y. Officier supérieur dans l’armée françoise.” [N.p., ca 1781-2].
2 volumes, 4° (206 x 161 mm). MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER. 868 pages. Volume I: , 457,  pp. Volume II: , 263,  pp. Contemporary mottled brown calf, flat spine, compartments delineated by gilt fillets and decorated with gilt-stamped floral designs, red and black morocco spine labels with gilt-stamped lettering.
A FINE CONTEMPORARY MANUSCRIPT COPY WITH UNPUBLISHED SECTIONS of the earliest edition of Chastellux’s narrative. The Marquis arrived in America in July 1780 and participated in the American Revolutionary War as Major General in the French expeditionary force led by general Rochambeau. In 1781, Chastellux was third in command of the French forces engaged at the decisive Siege of Yorktown. Fluent in English and with a strong ideological support of the American cause, he served the alliance well. During the latter part of the campaign he was the principal liaison officer between George Washington and Rochambeau. Thereafter, Chastellux remained a personal friend of George Washington for life.
While in Newport, Rhode Island, Chastellux had portions of his journals printed on board one of the ships in Count d’Estaing’s squadron. It was issued anonymously under the title Voyage de Newport a Philadelphie, Albany, &c. This so-called Squadron Edition was limited to approximately 24 copies, of which 10 or 12 were sent to friends in Europe. The text of this edition comprises his travels in the winter of 1780-81. According to Rich, "The Marquis de Chastelleux caused twenty-four copies of this journal to be printed at a press on board one of the ships … to avoid the trouble of making manuscript copies to send to his friends in Europe.” According to Howard Rice, though, “he evidently had a few manuscript copies made to circulate among his closest friends.” Of these, the only ones presently known to exist are the present manuscript and a manuscript copy of the narrative of the Virginia trip at the Newberry Library.
The present manuscript carefully transcribes the text of Squadron Edition, and includes pencil insertions correcting the errata in that edition. The text found on the title of the Squadron Edition appears in the present manuscript after the general title “Voyage en Amerique par monsieur le Marquis de C... officier general dans l'armee françoise” and introductory description of his voyage that is not recorded elsewhere. This manuscript was presumably made soon after the publication of this privately-printed edition, incorporating perhaps other manuscript materials available to the copyist.
The narrow distribution of the select few printed copies did not stop it from spreading to a wider audience: a printer at Cassel issued an unauthorized edition of fragments of the text in 1782, and this led to Chastellux preparing an expanded official edition in 1786 (the first volume of which covers the period in this manuscript). Of this work, Chastellux wrote to Benjamin Franklin in 1786: “I could not see your country in anything but a favorable light, and if my love of truth occasionally called forth a gentle censure, my best wishes always took the place of my admiration, when the latter was compelled to be silent” (quoted in Church 1180). For the Squadron Edition, see Evans 17111; Rich I:300; Sabin 12225, and Howard C. Rice, introduction to Chastellux, Travels in North America (Chapel Hill, 1963).
After the manuscript text of Chastellux’s work is “Voyage en Amérique par Mr. le Cte. de C...y. Officier supérieur dans l’armée françoise,” a 64-page essay on American finances, the navy, and its people, possibly by Jean Baptiste Nompère de Champagny, duc de Cadore. Another supporter of the American cause, Champagny fought through the war and resigned from service in 1787. This report, evidently written for circulation in high army and government levels, describes the history of the American conflict up to the arrival of the French in 1780, morale, equipment, etc. We have not been able to locate any printed edition of this report. A UNIQUE MANUSCRIPT COPY OF ONE THE MOST IMPORTANT TRAVEL BOOKS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD.