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Essai Politique sur la Royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne ... [With:] Atlas Géographique et Physique du Royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne
Paris: J.H. Stône for [text] F. Schoell or [atlas] G. Dufour & Cie, 1812. 6 volumes (text: 5 vols., 8vo [8 x 5 inches]; atlas: large folio [21 1/2 x 17 inches]). Text: folding engraved map in the rear of vol. 1, folding plate in vol. 2. errata in rear of vol. 5 and publisher's ads in rear of vols. 4 and 5. Atlas: on paper guards throughout: letterpress half-title, title page and 4pp. description of the 'Cartes Géographiques et Physiques contenus dans l'Atlas Mexicain'. 19 engraved sheets with maps, cross-sections or plates (9 sheets double-page), consisting of one engraved map on 2 double-page sheets, 1 double-page sheet with three maps on it, 1 single-page with eight maps on it, 1 single page with one map and four graphs on it, 4 single-page maps, 3 double-page maps, 4 double-page geographical cross-section profiles [one printed in brown], 2 single-page views printed in brown, 1 single-page plate of diagrams [complete]. Text in contemporary dark green morocco backed blue/black marbled paper covered boards, atlas bound uniform to style, flat spines giltA fine set of Humboldt's work on New Spain: a founding work in the fields of political economy and economic geography and considered by Howes to be "of superlative California importance."Humboldt was described by Dibdin as "the most illustrious traveller of his day." With the support of the Spanish Prime Minister, Humboldt managed to gain permission to enter the Spanish colonies of Central and South America, which were effectively closed at the time. He set off with the French botanist Bonpland from Marseilles in 1799, and spent five years travelling through Central and South America, during which time he covered some 6000 miles. He then returned to Europe and spent the next twenty-three years recording his experiences, observations and collections in a series of spectacular works. The Essai Politique is a complete work in itself, but also forms the third part of Humboldt and Bonpland's Voyage. In the present work Humboldt describes northern New Spain, particularly Mexico and the northern provinces, including California and the American Southwest: Becker calls it "detailed and thorough, containing much data that had never before appeared in print.""Nothing seems too vast, too varied, too wonderful, or too minute, for the keen eye, penetrating intellect, and unwearied exertions of this extraordinary man. A botanist, zoologist, statistician and philosopher, the genius of this great writer seems to have been peculiarly fitted for surveying the varieties and immensity of the physical world; and he accordingly takes the foremost rank of all the travellers, dead or living" (Dibdin).The accompanying Atlas... is regarded as one of the seminal cartographic works of Western Americana. The most important map is Humboldt's great "Carte Generale du Royaume de la Nouvelle Espagne," originally executed by Humboldt during his stay in Mexico in 1803-4, and covering two large folio double sheets. It extends from the "comte de Natchitoches" in the Texas country on the east to the head of the Gulf of California in the west, and begins just south of El Paso in the north, extending south to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Carl Wheat calls it a 'truly magnificent cartographic achievement,' and notes that, 'for the area of the American West which it included it was undoubtedly the most important and accurate map that had yet appeared' and concludes that, before the explorations of Lewis and Clark, Humboldt's maps were in the first rank of western cartography. Schwartz and Ehrenberg state that it remained 'the standard map of the Great Basin region until Fremont's explorations 35 years later.' Thomas Streeter discusses the map at great length, concluding that "it is without question the best representation of Texas that had thus far appeared." It is certainly one of the foundation maps for Texas and the Southwest. Besides the large map, there is a double-sheet map of the whole North American continent south of 42° latitude which reiterates Humboldt's western cartography on a larger scale, and three important maps for the Santa Fe trade illustrating the route from Mexico to Durango, Durango to Chihuahua, and Chihuahua to Santa Fe. Other maps illustrate the Valley of Mexico, and ports and routes in Mexico and across the Isthmus. The Atlas...concludes with a series of fine geological/physical profiles (one printed in brown), and two excellent views of volcanoes (also in brown).The atlas was issued with a two volume quarto text, but is here accompanied (as often) by the octavo text in five volumes, which is desirable as it contains an additional copy of Humboldt's seminal map.Cf. Cowan p.296; cf. Graff 2009; cf. Hill (2004) 843; Howes H786; cf. Mapping the West pp.100-101; Palau 116974; Phillips Atlases I:2682; Plains & Rockies IV:7a:3 & 7a:3a:1; cf. Printing and the Mind of Man 320; cf. Reese & Miles Creating America 23; Sabin 33713; Schwartz & Ehrenberg, p.127, plate 139; cf. Streeter Sale 195; Wagner-Camp 7a:2; Wheat Transmississippi 272-275, 302-305 & pp.132-138.
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books ]
Last Found On: 2018-01-09           Check availability:      ABAA    

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