A Voyage to Cochinchina, in the Years 1792 and 1793:
containing a General View of the Valuable Productions and the Political Importance of this Flourishing Kingdom; and also of such European Settlements as were visited on the Voyage: with Sketches of the Manners, Character, and Condition of their Several Inhabitants. To which is annexed an Account of a Journey, made in the Years 1801 and 1802, to the Residence of the Chief of the Booshuana Nation, being the Remotest Point in the Interior of Southern Africa to which Europeans have hitherto penetrated …London: Cadell and Davies, 1806 Stock Code: 80780
Vietnam opened to British eyesFirst edition of the "first illustrated English work on Vietnam" (Hill), being a description of the outward voyage of Lord Macartney's embassy to China. The account is superbly illustrated with aquatints of views, "types," and natural history specimens, Abbey commending the aquatinting as "of excellent quality."
"The voyage visited Madeira, the Canary Islands, and Rio de Janeiro; a description of that city and of Brazil in general is given. Touching at Tristan da Cunha, the ship rounded the Cape and eventually reached Cochin China via the city of Batavia on Java. The volume is also of Cook interest, as it describes finding Captain Cook's Resolution transformed into a smuggling whaler under the French flag." The "substance of the sketch" of Cochinchina "is taken from a manuscript memoir drawn up by Captain Barissy, a French naval officer who, having several years commanded a frigate in the service of the King of Cochinchina and being an able and intelligent man, had the means and the opportunity of collecting accurate information" (Preface). The African part of the volume - which "might perhaps, with more propriety, have formed an appendix" to Barrow's South African travels - relates to his "two missions into the interior in order to reconcile the Kaffirs and Boers and to obtain more accurate topographical knowledge of the colony. He visited most parts of the Cape Colony, including the countries of the Kaffirs, Hottentots and Bushmen. He conducted the first census of Cape Colony, undertook a few amateur geological surveys, and contrived an interview with Shaka, king of the Zulus" (Howgego).
The son of a Lancashire journeyman tanner, Barrow was initially educated in the local grammar school, subsequently working as "as a clerk in a Liverpool iron foundry, as a landsman on a Greenland whaler, and as a mathematics teacher in a Greenwich academy preparing young men for a naval career" (ODNB). At this time he gave private tuition to Thomas Staunton, son of Sir George Staunton, to whom, as he later admitted, he 'was indebted for all the good fortune' of his life, which began with his service as comptroller of household to Lord Macartney's embassy. Today, Barrow is perhaps "best known for his Mutiny on the Bounty (1831) but, during his lifetime, his accounts of his travels in eastern Asia and southern Africa, published between 1801 and 1807, were better known and more influential. These established new standards for travel writing His interests ranged widely, but the great bulk of his output had a geographical focus, usually with an underlying imperial theme and a belief in progress and the superiority of British civilization Collectively, these activities established his pre-eminence within British geography" (ibid.).
Provenance: bookplate of Charles Constant de Rebecque to the front pastedown. A Swiss, and a cousin of Benjamin Consant, Constant de Rebecque (1762-1835) acted as an agent for the HEIC, making three trips to China for them, and publishing an account of his travels, Récits de Trois Voyages à la Chine.
Quarto (261 x 204 mm). Recent half sprinkled calf on marbled boards, original spine and label laid down.
19 hand-coloured aquatint plates after W. Alexander and S. Daniell, including 3 of Africa and 3 of Rio de Janeiro - one a folding view of the land round the harbour - 2 maps (one a coloured lithograph of Rio, the other an engraved chart of South Africa wi
Modern collector's bookplate. Light browning throughout, some off-setting from the plates, self-off-setting to the engraved map, which has stain verso from old tape-repair on a fold, now restored with Japanese tissue, overall a very good copy.
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