RAVENEAU DE LUSSAN, Sieur de (1663-after 1700). Journal du voyage fait a la mer de sud, avec les flibustiers de l'Amerique en 1684 & années suivantes. Paris: Jean-Baptiste Coignard, 1689.
12° (164 x 90mm). Privilege and imprint leaves at end. (Short tear due to paper flaw on F2 with loss of a few letters, occasional very faint spotting and browning.) Contemporary red morocco, covers with triple gilt fillet frames enclosing the gilt arms of Louis XIV, richly gilt spine with raised bands, gilt turn-ins, marbled and gilt edges. Provenance: Edouard Rahir (booklabel, sold at Drouot 5-7 May 1936, lot 1152) -- Pierre Berès (catalogue 64 / 266).
FIRST EDITION: THE DEDICATION COPY TO LOUIS XIV.
An adventurer of aristocratic descent, Raveneau de Lussan sailed at the age of 22 in 1679 from Dieppe to Santo Domingo. To pay off his debts, he joined a band of buccaneers and sailed for almost two years with them (from November 1684 to February 1686). The relation of his adventures is realistic and even brutal: 'His book details both the romantic and bleaker sides of buccaneering, interwoven with colourful descriptions of natives of the region and a clear picture of the Spanish colonies in the Pacific' (Howgego).
This, his only book, was used by Daniel Defoe as a source for the adventures of Robinson Crusoe, according to Gilbert Chinard.
The royal provenance is extremely significant as Louis XIV supported the buccaneers, using them against the Spanish galleons. Eight years after the Journal was published, he enrolled them in the French navy for an expedition against Cartagena, allowing them a contractual share of a third of the booty. The King however proceeded to betray the buccaneers as soon as the expedition was completed, and their power thereafter declined rapidly.
A fine copy from the library of the 'Sun King' Louis XIV, with his coat of arms gilt on sides.
Alden & Landis 689/152; Leclerc, Bibliotheca Americana, 487 ('Cette relation, qui est insérée toute entière dans le troisième volume de l’histoire des flibustiers, est la meilleure relation de toutes celles qui sont entrées dans cet ouvrage'); Howgego, Encyclopedia of Exploration to 1800 I, p. 654; Sabin 67983; Soultrait 17th century 276.