Frankfurt: Theodor de Bry and Johann Saur, 1598.
First Latin translation of the author's "Brevissima Relacion" Seville : Sebastian Trugillo, 1552. Also the first illustrated edition. Small quarto (7 3/16 x 5 7/8 inches; 195 x 150 mm). , 141, [1, blank] pp. Bound without the final blank. With engraved title-page and seventeen half-page engravings by Theodor and Johann Theodor de Bry; after Joost van Winghe. This edition is the first appearance of these plates which all illustrate the cruelties practiced upon the Indians by the Spaniards, as related by Las Casas. According to Sabin, this edition of Las Casas, "is much sought for in consequence of the beauty of the first impressions of the plates."
Bound to style in full modern paneled calf. Boards ruled in gilt and blind. Boards with gilt central lozenge. Spine stamped and ruled in gilt. Top edges dyed brown others speckled red. Title-page and plates on pages 12 and 95 trimmed close at fore-edge, barely affecting illustration. Some occasional light dampstaining and light soiling. Overall a very good copy.
"His [Casas] career affords, perhaps, a solitary instance of a man who, being neither a conqueror, a discoverer, nor an inventor, has, by the pure force of benevolence, become so notable a figure that large portions of history cannot be written, or at least cannot be understood, without the narrative of his deeds and efforts being made one of the principal threads upon which the history is strung. ... Take away all he said and did, and preached, and wrote, and preserved (for the early historians of the New World owe the records of many of their most valuable facts to him), and the history of the conquest would lose a considerable portion of its most precious material." (Sabin, 11289).
"The relations of Las Casas proved a most formidable weapon for any nation on ill terms with the Spaniards... It is to be hoped that the real number inhumanly tortured and slain has been fictitiously doubled many times, otherwise we should be compelled
to believe that the torments of purgatory were too moderate for the Spaniards." (Field, 880).
Howes. Sabin 11283. Streeter 30.