MARAT, Jean-Paul.

Lettres de l’Observateur Bons-Sens, a M. de ***, sur la fatale catastrophe des infortunés Pilatre de Rosier & Romain, les Aéronautes & l’Aérostation.

A Londres, et se trouve à Paris: Chez Méquignon l’Aîné…1785

8vo, 39 pages, engraved frontispiece (bound after the title) and 1 engraved plate. Extra-illustrated at the beginning with a double-page portrait of Marat (browned), and five later woodcuts of a portrait of Pilatre de Rozier, the balloon, the crash, etc. Modern tree sheep, spine gilt with red morocco label and balloon ornaments, marbled endpapers, uncut, a fine copy. Blind stamp on the front free endpaper of William Malpas.

FIRST EDITION. An account of the first victims of aerostation. Jean-François Pilatre de Rozier (1754–1785) was one of the pioneers of aviation. He and his friend the Marquis d’Arlandes made the first free balloon flight in November 1783. However, Pilatre de Rozier and his friend Pierre Romain died on 15th June 1785 when their balloon crashed near Calais while they were attempting the first flight across the Channel, thus becoming the first known victims of a fatal air crash. This rare pamphlet by Marat, physician, scientist and revolutionary, gives a description of their balloon, an account of the crash and the possible reasons for it. Marat also considers the dangers of flying. The plates illustrate the balloon before and after the crash. Not in Tissandier. Maggs Cat. 387, 191 (with only 1 plate).


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