“THE FATHER OF ALL WHO LOVE GOODNESS… YOUR FATHER TOO, IF GOD HAD GIVEN YOU GRACE TO SEE IT”
STEVENSON, Robert Louis. Father Damien. An Open Letter to the Reverend Doctor Hyde of Honolulu from Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Chatto and Windus, 1890. Small octavo, original brown paper wrappers, uncut; pp. 30. Housed in custom chemise and half morocco slipcase. $950.
First published edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s impassioned defense of Father Damien de Veuster, “the Apostle to the Lepers,” in original wrappers. A fine and desirable copy.
Stevenson visited Father Damien de Veuster’s leper colony at Molokai in early 1889 and left deeply moved by the work “the leper priest” began. Father Damien had died of Hansen’s Disease himself that year, refusing to leave the colony for treatment. Upon his death, his Protestant detractors, chief among them Presbyterian cleric the Reverend Doctor C.M. Hyde, accused him of immorality. Outraged, Stevenson—himself a Presbyterian, as he mentions—penned this open letter in reply. Point by point, Stevenson rebuts Hyde’s charges, concluding, “The man who tried to do what Damien did is my father… and the father of all who love goodness; and he was your father too, if God had given you grace to see it.” In Stevenson’s “well-known philippic against Hyde… the memory of the Apostle of the Lepers is brilliantly vindicated” (Catholic Encyclopedia). Later investigation also exonerated Father Damien of all charges of impropriety. Preceded by two privately printed editions (Sydney and Edinburgh, both 1890, the Edinburgh edition consisting of only 30 copies). Princeton 44B. Grolier Stevenson 116. See Prideaux 115. Robert Louis Stevenson’s name written by a previous owner on title page.
Light age-wear to fragile original wrappers. A fine copy.