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Personal Narrative of a Voyage to Japan, Kamtschatka, Siberia, Tartary and Various Parts of the Coast of China; in H M S Barracouta
London: Smith, Elder and Company, 1859. Octavo, with five folding maps and eight lithographic plates including frontispiece, a few maps with old tape repairs and subsequent browning; spine sunned, one corner bumped, a little shaken but good in original deep red decorated cloth with gilt spine. First edition: a detailed and informative account of the first trade negotiations between Britain and Japan, with commentary by Sir James Stirling, former Governor of the Swan River colony.The author, John Tronson, was one of the earliest Westerners to visit Japan, which had only recently been opened to Western trade after the visits of Commodore Perry's squadron of 1853-1854, and a Russian contingent sent to Nagasaki under Admiral Poutiatine in 1853. Tronson was an officer on H.M.S. Barracouta, a member of a four vessel squadron sent to Japan under the command of Sir James Stirling, then British Commander-in-Chief for China and the East Indies. Stirling had earlier served in western Australia from 1829 to 1839, commanding the party of energetic colonists who laid the foundations of Fremantle and Perth.Stirling's role as British envoy to the Governor of Nagasaki was a difficult one as Western trading intentions were treated with understandable suspicion and hostility by the Japanese. Tronson describes how the British squadron was politely stalled in Nagasaki harbour for several days before securing an appointment with the Governor; further negotiations concluded a treaty between the two nations allowing British merchants access to Japanese markets. This informative book includes a summary of the longstanding Dutch treaty, significantly adding a commentary by Sir James Stirling on the dissolution of the Dutch monopoly enjoyed for so many years.The author's narrative extends beyond diplomatic discourse to include detailed descriptions of the landscape, religion and day-to-day life of mid nineteenth-century Japan; he shows much interest in the vegetation and horticulture of Nagasaki and surrounds. Although the primary focus of the work is on the Japanese treaty, the expedition also visited Hong Kong and the Chinese coast, encountering pirates at Kuhlan before proceeding to Avatska Bay in Kamtschatka. The squadron then sailed further north to asses the extent of Russian naval activity, whaling and trading off Siberia, important information as Britain was at war with Russia in the Crimea at the time.This book contains five finely engraved maps, including a detailed chart of Nagasaki harbour and surrounding islands.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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