Dorothy Sloan -- Books

Copyright 2000- by Dorothy Sloan-Rare Books Inc. for all materials on this site. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.



“Un libro de los más valiosos de la época”

Click images or links labeled Enlarge to enlarge. Links labeled Zoom open zoomable images.

557.     WILCOCKE, Samuel Hull. History of the Viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres; Containing the Most Accurate Details Relative to the Topography, History, Commerce, Population, Government, &c. &c. of that Valuable Colony. By Samuel Hull Wilcocke. Illustrated with Plates. London: Printed for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, (Successors to Mr. H.D. Symonds, No. 20, Paternoster-Row); and Black, Parry, and Kingsbury, Leadenhall-Street; By Squire and Warwick, Furnival’s-Inn-Court [bottom of last page] Squire, Printer, Furnival’s-Inn-Court, n.d. [1807]. [4], [1] 2-576 pp., 3 copper-engraved maps (2 folded), 4 copper-engraved plates (2 hand colored). 8vo (22 x 14.3 cm), recent brown cloth, title and shelf mark in gilt lettering on spine, sprinkled edges, recent endpapers. Light soiling and foxing throughout (including some plates and maps), overall a good, solid copy. The two folded maps backed with older cartographic linen. Ex-library, with pictorial bookplate of City of York Public Library on front pastedown, several early oval ink stamps of the York Subscription Library, and old ink stamp with class mark on title verso. Plates and maps with discreet property stamps in lower right corners.

Maps & Chart:

Map of the Viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres, with the Surrounding States [center below neat line] Published Octr. 11, 1806, by H.D. Symonds, Pater-Noster Row. Neat line to neat line: 25.5 x 19.3 cm. Folded. Frontispiece.

Map of the City of Buenos Ayres [center below neat line] Published 4th. Octr. 1806 by H.D. Symonds, Pater Noster Row Neele Sculp. Strand. 19 x 11.2 cm.

Chart of the Rio de la Plata, and Plan of the Harbour of Monte Video and Town of St Philip [inset map of St. Philip at lower left, with text above] NB. The Tides rise 4-1/2 feet with S.W. or SE winds they will rise nearly 7 feet. [center below neat line] Published November 24 1806 by H.D. Symonds Pater Noster Row Neele Sc. Strand. 18.5 x 24.2 cm. Folded.


The Cacique Cangapol of Huechin, and his Wife [below image] Published by H.D. Symonds, Paternoster Row, Octr. 18, 1806. Image with title and imprint: 17.2 x 10.5 cm. Hand-colored.

Manner of catching and slaughtering Bullocks in Paraguay Image with title: 9.7 x 16.5 cm.

Method of drawing by Oxen in Spanish South America Image with title: 9.7 x 16.7 cm.

The Lama of South America [below title] Published by H.D. Symonds Novr.10, 1806. Image with title and imprint: 13 x 11 cm. Hand-colored.

     First edition, second issue, with reset title page. The first issue came out the same year, published by Symonds and with printed date of 1807. A third issue was published in 1820 from the same sheets, again with a new title reflecting the altered political status of Buenos Aires: History and Description of the Republic of Buenos Ayres…. Abbey, Travel in Aquatint and Lithography, Vol. II, 703. Alberich 1259. Kress Library 19418. Palau 375259. Rich, Bibliotheca Americana Nova 1807:20. Sabin 103963. Stevens, Nuggets 2855.

     Samuel Hull Wilcocke (1766?-1833) was actually an armchair traveler; he never visited Buenos Aires, but was rather an indefatigable researcher with many contacts in the region. This work is considered an early classic text on the area, its politics, society, government, and populace. Its publication marked the beginning of true British interest in the area, which he urged Great Britain to settle and develop, both for commercial and strategic purposes. Ironically, Wilcocke was premature; by the time this book was published, the initially successful British force had been defeated and was on its way back to Great Britain, thereby giving the lie to his treatment of the area as a British colony. José Babini remarks of Wilcocke’s work: “El autor no estuvo personalmente en el Río de la Plata, pero sus vinculaciones comerciales con la región le permitieron informarse adecuadamente acerca de la misma a través de datos auténticos, y escribir un libro de los más valiosos de la época” (La evolución del pensamiento científico en la Argentina, Buenos Aires: La Fragua, 1954).

     Among the interesting features of the book is Wilcocke’s discussion of the area’s Native Americans and mestizos. He dwells at some length on their activities and abilities as ranch workers and horsemen. One of the plates, for example, illustrates them capturing and butchering cattle, which Wilcocke says can be done by several methods, including the one shown in the plate, which consists of lassoing the animals before they are slaughtered. Wilcocke writes with considerable admiration of their horsemanship and other skills. These are the people who a few years later would be known as gauchos.

     He also expressed some admiration for the illicit slave trade carried on by U.S. vessels at the port, but only because their ruses proved so slick. Captains would furtively introduce slaves into Buenos Aires, where they would be traded quietly for goods, such as hides and tallow. Next, they would make their way to Europe to sell their cargo. From there, the ship would return to the U.S., the whole purpose of the voyage completely obscured from officials. In some cases, they were able to simply exchange the slaves for money in secret (pp. 540-541).

     Wilcocke, son of an English minister, eventually emigrated to Canada, where he spent most of the rest of his life. He was a controversial figure. He had to flee Canada for the United States, from which he was forcibly abducted by agents of the Northwest Company, who returned him to Canada, where he was imprisoned. U.S. indignation over his kidnapping eventually resulted in his release. One of his most notable achievements was the founding of the newspaper entitled The Scribbler, which he initiated while still in prison in Montreal. Unfortunately, the increasingly vitriolic tone of the paper landed him in hot water again, and once more he fled to the United States. He was also a translator from Dutch and German, a polemicist, a poet, and a dramatist. Ironically, the year he died, he published a play entitled The Triumph of Intrigue. See Frances G. Halpenny, Dictionary of Canadian Biography (University of Toronto Press, 1966).


Sold. Hammer: $500.00; Price Realized: $600.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

Click images or links labeled Enlarge to enlarge. Links labeled Zoom open zoomable images.

DSRB Home | e-mail: