Historia de los Dictadores de la republica Romana …

Cartagena de Indias, Government Press for Gonzalez Pujòl, 1814.

16mo, pp. [iv], xxxiv, [3]–238, [2], with half-title; woodcut ornaments; dampstains to first few leaves, a little cockled, but a good copy in contemporary sheep-backed speckled boards (formed of several layers of printed and manuscript waste), covers very worn, morocco spine label; ownership inscription ‘P S L’ to title-page.


US $844€772

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First edition, very rare, of this Colombia-printed history of the Roman dictators by the Cuban lawyer and writer Ferrer y Feruz (1772–1851), written in Colombia during the civil strife of early independence.

Ferrer’s prologue and long ‘preliminary reflections’ draw attention to the topicality of his study in the context of ‘la transformacion polìtica de la América española y la inclinacion que obsérvo en muchos de los Estados que la componen por el règimen repùblicano, y especialmente por el sistema dictatorial’, and discusses other dictatorial republics from Venice to Cromwell’s Protectorate, suggesting that dictatorship is sometimes a necessary evil. North America also gets a mention: ‘Happy is the people that comes to have a Washington at its head!’

Having trained in Havana, Ferrer spent the years 1794 to 1800 in Madrid, where he published several books, including Viaje a la isla de Cuba (1798), the first book of voyages by a Cuban writer. Sent on an official commission to Mexico, he was diverted to Havana for fear of attack by English corsairs, and remained there until 1803, founding several periodicals. After a brief period back in Spain in 1805 he was appointed as chief accountant to Cartagena de Indias, where he lived until 1820, founding the press that published the present work. Cartagena was the second territory in Colombia to declare its independence from Spain, in 1811, and was subject to a brutal reconquest in 1815 that left most of the city in ruins. 

OCLC and Library Hub record a single copy, at Harvard. There is also a copy in the National Library of Colombia.

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