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Autographed letter signed to the Viceroy of Mexico, Conde de Revillagigedo
1790 - Malaspina´s manuscript report of the progress of the expedition, with an account of the route taken, addressed to the Viceroy of Mexico. 12 June 1790. Lima. In 4to (228 mm x 188 mm). 3 pp. Manuscript on paper, watermarked "D. & C. Blauw”; traces of small red wax seal, small tear at foot of fold affecting one word. A fascinating letter by Malaspina, addressed to Juan Vicente de Guemes, Viceroy of Mexico (1789 – 1794), describing the year he has spent since parting from the viceroy in Cadiz, around the coast from Buenos Aires to Lima. The “Malaspina” expedition (1789 – 1794) was arguably the most significant Spanish scientific exploration performed in the 18th century, designed and modeled under the influences of those of the British Cook, and the French La Perouse. The letter is signed from Lima, detailing to the Viceroy the progress and route taking by the expedition during its 11 months, and giving a detailed account of the places visited; beginning with a strange note, telling the Viceroy he wishes not to come to him as a traitor, but as someone who wishes to manifest his everlasting recognition for the many favors granted upon him, and continues the note expressing his joy for the success had so far in the expedition, carried out between Buenos Aires (the expedition first landed in Montevideo) and Lima, and the many astronomical and scientific discoveries made: “Mi estimadissimo favorecedor: Ya ha pasado un año que me separado de Ud. en Cadiz con animo de venir a cogerle por la espalda no como Traidor, si bien como una Persona que desea manifestarle su perpetuo reconocimiento por los muchos favores que le ha merecido siempre viajando toda la costa comprendida entre Buenos Ayres, y Lima, y agregandole muchos conocimientos Astronomicos, y Fisicos”. Malaspina promises then to send a detailed account from Acapulco, and begins with the derrotero of the expedition, beginning at Montevideo, exploring the coast of the Patagonia, Puerto Deseado, the Falklands (even then disputed, and considered a point of geo-political importance), Tierra del Fuego, Cabo de Hornos, and up the Pacific, all the way to Lima, after exploring Chiloe (mapping the region, collecting zoological and botanical samples, and meeting with the Huiliches natives) and Valparaiso (the corvettes separated at this point, to gain time, the Atrevida exploring the coast of Valparaiso, whilst the Descubierta sailed to the islands of Juan Fernandez, the alleged location of Robinson Crusoe). The vessels would reunite at the port of Callao, giving course to a prolonged stay in Lima (arriving in 20 May, and staying for approximately three months), re-provisioning and repairing the Descubierta and the Atrevida, it would also give time to the scientists to give order to the vast amount of material taken so far. He then states how pleased he is that the abuses of the previous minister have been remedied, though he thinks it will be too difficult to reach the capital [Mexico], as it would take too much time away from the expedition, and the only delay in Acapulco will be to re-provisioning of the ships. The expedition had goals of political, economic, and scientific nature, which required a consistent crew to achieve them: astronomers and cartographers (Dionisio Galeano, Cayetano Valdes), draughtsman (Jose Cardero, Jose del Pozo, Juan Ravenent, Fernando Brambila, to name but a few), naturalists (Tadeo Haenke) and scientists joined the expedition. The main goals were to improve the scientific knowledge of the American domains, providing the crown with a better cartographical and hydrographical knowledge of the ports and coastlines, analyzing the state of affairs of the Viceroyalties (for which the Commanders Alejandro Malaspina and Jose de Bustamante y Guerra were provided with extensive authority to request any documents necessary by the local Officials), to collect zoological and botanical samples, in all, to better understand the American colonies and thus been able to bett
      [Bookseller: HS Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2016-01-31           Check availability:      IberLibro    

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