Prisoner Exchange During the American Revolution
AMERICAN REVOLUTION / LOUIS XVI.
Paris, L’Impremerie Royale, 1780.

Cartel pour l’échange général de tous les prisonniers pris en mer, entre la France & la Grande-Bretagne, & amenés en Europe.

4to. [24.5 x 19 cm], 23 pp. Bound in modern marbled boards. Woodcut maritime vignette with fleur-de-lis on first page. Excellent, internally a very fresh copy.

First edition of this list of maritime prisoners exchanged between France and England during the American Revolution. The 36 articles of the cartel are chiefly concerned with settling a descending scale of prices for the transfer, as well as a fair rate of exchange. Article 2 gives a table of French officers alongside their English equivalents, from admirals and vice-admirals to midshipmen, subalterns and artillerymen. Articles 18 and 19 establish exchange rates: field-marshals captured by either party, for instance, may be exchanged for 60 simple sailors (matelots), or ransomed for the set price of £60 sterling. Articles 23-36 stipulate regulations for the transport of the prisoners.

The cartel was signed at Versailles March 12, and at London March 28, 1780. The recto of the last leaf prints the names of the document’s original signatories, including Britain’s four representatives from the Office of Sick and Hurt Seamen. A bilingual edition was published simultaneously in England.


* Polak 1466. Not in Sabin or Wroth & Annan.

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