Recherches philosophiques sur les Américains, ou Mémoires intéressants pour servir à l’Histoire de l’Espèce Humaine. Avec une Dissertation sur l’Amérique & les Américains, par Don Pernety.
[Pauw, Corneille de].

[Volumes I and II:] Londres: 1 1770-1. Mixed set of the expanded edition. The work was originally published in two volumes in Berlin, 1768-1769. The first three-volume edition (with Parts III and IV , containing the original work plus Pernety’s critique and De Pauw’s defense, was pub Some wear to spine and corners. Generally a very good, clean set. Contemporary paste-paper wrappers, backed in old calf. Gilt-decorated spines, edges stained red. Four parts, bound in thr [xx], 276, [26, table de (Item ID: 13158)


An anti-colonial polemic in which de Pauw (1739-99), the Dutch philologist, tried to show the inferior character of everything American. He claimed that anthropological and climatic factors on the American continent would contribute to gradual racial degeneration of the American colonies and predicted that the new European inhabitants would not be able to adapt to the climate of the American continent, that their health and fecundity would be weakened (Volume I, pp. 105-7). He regarded the indigenous population as feeble and morally weak. This work caused considerable controversy, and the Benedictine, Don Antoine-Joseph Pernety (1716-1770) responded with his Dissertation sur l’Amérique & les Américains, which defended the reputation of the American Indians. This was in turn answered by de Pauw and then published in the third volume. Though de Pauw’s argument seems outdated, not to say reprehensible, his book constitutes an interesting early study of the effects of colonialism and on the nature of Indians and African-Americans. It is also interesting as a study of beginning anthropology and demography in the French enlightenment. De Pauw was one of the philosophes, and contributed to the supplement of the Encyclopédie.

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