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RENOUARD DE SAINTE-CROIX, Carloman-Louis-François Félix, marquis.

Voyage commercial et politique aux Indes Orientales, aux iles Philippines, a la Chine,

avec des notions sur la Cochinchine et le Tonquin, pendant les années 1803, 1804, 1805, 1806 et 1807,contenant des observations et des renseignements, tant sur les productions territoriales et industrielles que sur le commerce de ces pays; des tableaux d'importations et d'exportations du commerce d'Europe en Chine, depuis 1804 jusqu'en 1807; des remarques sur les moeurs, les coutumes, le gouvernement, les lois, les idiômes, les religions, etc.; un apperçu des moyens à employer pour affranchir ces contrée.

Published: Paris: Crapelet for Clament frères, 1810

Stock code: 100737

Price: £2,750

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First edition. Having lost Pondicherry (Puducherry) in the siege of 1793, the French regained it under the terms of the Treaty of Amiens, but in fact Henry Wellesley refused to cede it, and therefore when Renouard de Sainte-Croix (1767-1840) arrived in 1802 he was almost immediately imprisoned. A soldier-savant, he had been sent out to help organise the defence of the Philippines, but following his release he undertook a two year long survey of southern India including the Coromandel and Malabar coasts. He then departed on a thorough tour of the entire east Asian region taking in Malacca, Mindanao, Manilla, the Marianas, Luzon, Macao, the Camarines, the Bissayes (Visayas), the gold mines at Mabulao, and on his return voyage Canton, Cochinchina and Tonkin, with around two thirds of the third volume here being dedicated to his experiences in China. Written in epistolary form, de Sainte-Croix’s approach encompasses history, geography, natural history, ethnography, industry and commerce, with a keen eye to international trade. A contemporary review in L’Esprit des journaux, françois et étrangers, remarked that; “For many people nothing makes more enjoyable and interesting reading than voyages; they offer the mind a tableau of exotic sights around the globe; or they explore the laws and customs of various peoples; or explain new methods in the practice of agriculture, commerce of navigation; and in this triple aspect M. de Sainte-Croix’s voyage is one of the most curious to have been offered in a long time. Those who seek only amusement in such works, will find in it, despite of its complete veracity, all of the interest that fiction sometimes lends to the accounts of certain travellers” (January, 1811, pp.55-6). de Sainte-Croix was also the author, under a pseudonym, of L’Hindoustan, ou Religion, moeurs, usages, arts et métiers des Hindous (1816); compiled a two volume statistical survey of Martinique; produced memoirs on sugar production and slavery in the French colonies; translated and edited Staunton’s Ta Tsing Leu Lee for the French market; and his Mémoire sur la Chine adressé à Napoléon 1er was translated and published in Toung Pao by Cordier in 1901. The present work was published in German in 1811, but not into English. Commercially uncommon, this is a very pleasing copy of this important early nineteenth-century French account of Asia.

3 volumes octavo (198 123 mm). Contemporary sheep-backed boards, finely sprinkled pink paper,red double-labels, spines with double gilt ruled compartments, edges stained yellow and sprinkled red. Housed in a recent, plain brown cloth slipcase. With two excellent engraved folding maps by Mentelle and Chanlaire., hand-coloured in outline – the southern part of India and south east Asia from the mouth of the Ganges, including the East Indian Archipelago, and four folding tables. A little rubbed on the boards, contemporary repair to the front board of volume II, minor worm incursions on the lower joint of volume I, and the front joint of volume II, light browning and occasional spotting, a very good set in unrestored contemporary condition.

Bibliography: Cordier Indosinica, 2425; Bibliotheca Sinica 2106; Howgego, II,, D12; Lust 384; Nardin, Bibliographie des ouvrages en français sur les Philippines, 135, "très intéressant"

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