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Narrative of a journey in the interior of China: and of a voyage to and from that country, in the years 1816 and 1817; containing an account of the most interesting transactions of Lord Amherst's Embassy to the Court of Pekin, and observations on the countries which it visited.
London Longman 1819 - First edition. 4to, inscribed presentation copy, 4 engraved maps, 3 folding, 19 plates including 8 handcoloured, after Sydenham Edwards, William Hooker and others, errata leaf, some slight offsetting and spotting, full black morocco gilt by Samuel Smith, Calcutta, with his ticket, small chip to head of spine, a fine copy. Presentation copy of Abel's voyage to China in a decorative signed Calcutta binding. The inscription reads: "Mrs. Heber / from her affectionate/ friend/ the author." Abel stayed with Bishop Heber of Calcutta and his wife over a long period. Abel was the naturalist and chief medical officer who accompanied Lord Amherst on his mission to China from 1816-7, attempting, unsucessfully, to establish diplomatic relations. During their travels, which saw them visit the capital Pekin and the famous botanical gardens of Fa Tee near Canton, Abel collected many specimens, including seeds of the plant that carries his name Abelia chinensis. Unfortunately most of his extensive collection was lost during the shipwreck of their vessel "Alceste". His book provides a detailed account of the collection's misfortunes and describes his journey to China and back via Borneo, Indonesia, and the Cape of Good Hope. Of particular value are his account of a visit with the exiled Napoleon on the island of St. Helena, descriptions of the 'orang-outang' and the boa, and valuable observations on the geology of the Cape Colony. The book's illustrations were originally drawn by the artist for the mission, William Havell, founding member of the Society of Painters in Watercolors, who was able to sketch the Chinese countryside as the Embassy took its return route overland from Beijing to Guangzhou. Abbey Travel 537 (2nd ed.); Cordier 2395; Hill I, 1; Bastin & Brommer 134; Mendelssohn I, 2; BdM I, 8. [Attributes: First Edition; Signed Copy; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Shapero Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-12-10           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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