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TSONNONTHOUAN * 1763 * French & Indian War * Seneca Nation, Iroquois * Very Rare For Sale
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TSONNONTHOUAN * 1763 * French & Indian War * Seneca Nation, Iroquois * Very Rare:
M E M O I R S OF THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES O F TSONNONTHOUAN, A KING Of the INDIAN NATION called R O U N D H E A D S. Extracted from Original Papers and Archives. L O N D O N: Printed for the Author, 1763.
2 vols, 18×12 cm, 18th century full calf bindings, pp.(xx),189 (vol I), (vii),210 (vol II); condition VG+ with light browning throughout, all pages present and attached in sound, tight bindings, a short tear to the first page of Vol I being the only fault (no loss of text, see last photo).
A hard-hitting and bawdy lampoon of politicians and clergymen in the mid 18th century, this peculiar work was published anonymously in London at the close of the French and Indian War. The author has never been identified. The name of the novel (and protagonist) comes from the French name for the Seneca Nation, also called Roundheads, who were members of the Iroquois confederacy. The work takes an anti-colonial stance, in which the cynical use of religious conversion is enabled by the Native Americans' awe at the more advanced technology of the Europeans. Tsonnonthouan is a naive, natural man who is led astray by the chauvinistic and immoral ways of the newcomers.
The plot tracks the protagonist’s journey as he worships different manitous, converts to and backslides from various European faiths and sects along the way, and encounters unsavory people and situations. Although a work of fiction, there is extensive information on native customs, including descriptions of marriage ceremonies and sexual practices. In addition to being an entertaining, biting satire, the work offers a realistic look at life among the tribes of upper New England and Canada at the time of the French and Indian War.
Except for the narrator, the lone Englishman in the novel is called Bunce; he debauches and cheats Tsonnonthouan before becoming a Quaker and converting the Roundhead. The other significant European is Father Pego, a French priest who lusts after the wives of the medicine men in the tribe he is trying to convert. The corrupting of North America is represented by these two Europeans who bring war, moral decay, and alcohol to the native peoples.
A contemporary review in Smollett and Goldsmith’sBritish Magazine[May, 1763] praised the book as "witty and ingenious ...... a truly original performance in the style of Cervantes and Swift".Although the author promises a continuation, these two volumes are all that were ever published. The work is quite rare - an internet search finds only recent, print-on-demand copies, and the last sale record, for an example in poor condition, dates from 1954 (Parke Bernet Galleries, NY).
Insurance is included with the postage.
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