Travels Through Holland, Flanders, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Lapland, Russia, the Ukraine, and Poland,
in the years 1768, 1769, and 1770. In which is particularly Minuted, the Present State of those Countries, respecting their Agriculture, Population, Manufactures, Commerce, the Arts, and Useful Undertakings.London: J. Almon, 1772 Stock Code: 139634
"Rational, just, and useful observations" or "an invention of the brain" - a popular travelogue of the 18th centuryExcellently provenanced first edition of this substantial work purporting to represent the author's detailed itinerary of a 7,000 mile trip across Europe. Part of an contemporary "genre" of carefully researched and plausibly plagiarised travelogues.
Initially the work was well received, The Critical Review declaring that "We have met with much entertainment in the perusal of these volumes; the author seems to be a man of veracity; but we cannot help remarking that he is often negligent with his language", the Monthly Review considering, in the first part of its lengthy review, that the author has provided "many rational, just, and useful observations and reflections of the various subjects that fall under his notice". However, by the time that it published the continuation the Monthly had been informed by a correspondent "Z", that "there is no such traveller, and that the work is an invention of the brain", but against this they accepted the assurances of the publisher as to the veracity of the work. However, on the publication of a pendant volume four years later, they were forced to concede that "in every page it reminds us of the unwearied industry of the famous Mr. Arthur Young". This passing off of confected narratives was a prevalent problem for the reader in the eighteenth century; "many an eighteenth-century hack eked out a few pounds for writing a bogus tour made up of materials stolen from authentic travel and geography books. The penniless stutterer in Humphrey Clinker is one such author, who could narrate 'his travels through Europe and part of Asia, without ever budging beyond the liberties of the King's Bench, except in term-time, with a tipstaff for his companion'" (Batten, Pleasurable Instruction: Form and Convention in Eighteenth-century Travel Literature, p. 60).
A nice set in unrestored contemporary condition of this popular and passing plausible travelogue. From the library of Charles Willliam Vane, third marquess of Londonderry, his elaborate armorial bookplates to the front pastedowns, in his early career the marquess served on the staff in campaigns across the Netherlands and Germany.
3 volumes, octavo (206 x 125 mm). Contemporary pin-point sprinkled calf trade binding, red morocco labels, raised bands with gilt rules either side, numbered in gilt direct to the third compartment, milled edge-roll gilt, edges sprinkled red. With half-title to volume I.
A little rubbed, some minor scuffs, headcap pulled on volume I, some joints just starting but remain sound, corners bumped, tan browning to the endpapers and first few leaves front and back, some spotting, a few leaves in volume I with ink splashes, but overall a very good set.
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