THE PROPERTY OF A NORTHEAST COLLECTOR
COOPER, James Fenimore (1789-1851). Autograph letter signed ("J. Fenimore Cooper"), to Peter Augustus Jay and 10 other important New Yorkers, Paris, France, 28 March 1831. 1 page, 8vo, neatly tipped to larger sheet.
COOPER'S LETTER OF INTRODUCTION FOR ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE
A graceful letter in which Cooper, who had resided in Europe since 1826, introduces Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) and Gustave de Beaumont (1802-1866) to various prominent New Yorkers. Cooper writes: "de Tocqueville and de Beaumont are employed by the Government of France to enquire into the condition and discipline of the different penitentiaries in the United States. I take the liberty of recommending them and their object to your friendship with the certainty that a desire to do all that is agreeable to a nation with which we formerly entertained so intimate relations, no less than a wish to serve the cause of humanity will insure for them your friendship and council. Will you permit me to hope, that our ancient and personal intimacy may have an additional weight in introducing these gentlemen to your acquaintance."
Tocqueville, a liberal politician and author, obtained a commission from the French government to study the American penal system. Following their 18-months sojourn in America Tocqueville and Beaumont published Du système pénitentiaire aux Etats-Unis (1833); a few years later, Tocqueville published his classic De la démocratie en Amérique (1835, 1840), an extremely perceptive analysis of the American political system, institutions, and social structure. Widely translated, the book became a virtual handbook and source of inspiration for many liberal democratic movements in the nineteenth century. Not in Letters, ed. J.F. Beard, and presumably unpublished.