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    Perry's Voyage to Japan, Its Natural History,
    and the Zodiacal Light

    M.C. Perry, et al. [Francis L. Hawks, compiler]. Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, Performed in the Years 1852, 1853, and 1854, Under the Command of Commodore M.C. Perry, United States Navy, By Order of the Government of the United States ... with Numerous Illustrations. Washington: Beverley Tucker, Senate Printer, 1856. Three quarto volumes. xvii, [1], 537; [viii], 414, [18], xi, 16 large folding charts; xliii, 705 pages. Volume one, which recounts the actual voyage, has eighty-nine lithographic plates most of which are color tinted, including three colored facsimiles of Japanese painting (two of which fold-out), and five maps. (Lacks the suppressed "Public Bath at Simoda" plate, not called-for in list of illustrations, as is most common.) Volume two, which includes natural history reports by D.S. Green and others, has twenty-seven lithographic plates (lacking first two plates of fish), sixteen meteorological diagrams, a fourteen page reproduction of the "Treaty of Kan-a-ga-wa" in Japanese characters (pages numbered from back to front), and sixteen folding maps. Both of the first volumes have numerous in text woodcuts. Volume three is titled Observations on the Zodiacal Light, from Apri l2, 1853, to April 22, 1855, Made Chiefly on Board the United States Steam-Frigate Mississippi, During Her Late Cruise in Eastern Seas, and Her Voyage Homeward ... by Rev. George Jones.. and is composed of 352 full-page astronomical charts complimented by the same number of pages with explanatory text for each chart.
    Bound in publisher's blue cloth, blind-stamped with naval themed vignettes on boards, gilt title and sailing ship device on spines. The bindings are color faded, rubbed, lightly soiled, scuffed and scratched; corners bumped, gilt on spines faded, cracking joints; cracking hinges, first two volumes with small holograph pencil prices on front free endpapers, some over-opened pages, soiling, few small edge tears, image offset from illustrations on facing pages; the second volume's front board is loosely held on by cloth, its rear pastedown is stained, pages over-opened and textblock improperly re-stitched between 256 and 257, three of the folding charts bound in the back cannot be opened due to over stitching, some pages darkened; else a good copy with beautiful and brightly colored plates.
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    More Information:

    "In March, 1852, Commodore Perry was appointed commander of a naval expedition to be sent to Japan to induce their government to establish diplomatic relations with the United States. Perry felt that the only way to force Japan to cease her isolationist foreign policy would be through exhibiting superior naval forces.[T]he Japanese were eventually forced to accept a treaty that stipulated better treatment of shipwrecked seamen and permitted American ships to obtain fuel and supplies at two Japanese ports, Hakadate and Shimoda. The most important result, however, was that the visit contributed to the collapse of the feudal regime and to the modernization of Japan. Hawks, the editor of this work, was rector of Calvary Church, New York City. The Commodore, underrating his literary powers, declined to write the official report of the expedition. Instead, Hawks was engaged as editor and the two worked together in preparing this report using a number of journals written by men on the voyage" (Hill). 

    "Although this expedition was not projected nor organized for scientific purposes, the artist, William Heine, made many valuable zoological collections at various points in the course of the voyage. The birds are described in Vol. II, pp. 219-48, by John Cassin, with six colored illustrations." (McGill/Wood).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 484

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