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    First English Edition of the First Authorized
    Account of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

    Meriwether Lewis, and William Clark. Travels to the Source of the Missouri River and across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean. Performed by Order of the Government of the United States, in the years 1804, 1805, and 1806. By Captains Lewis and Clarke [sic]. Published from the Official Report, and Illustrated by a Map of the Route, and Other Maps. London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1814. First English (and first quarto) edition, preceded by the 1814 Philadelphia first edition in two octavo volumes. Large quarto (10.625 x 8.5 inches; 269 x 215 mm.). [iii]-xxiv, 663, [1, publisher's advertisements] pages. Bound without the half-title. Large folding map and five additional engraved maps on three plates, each bearing a publication date of April 28, 1814, and were re-engraved from those in the American edition by Samuel John Neele. Printer's imprint at foot of page 663: "J. G. Barnard, Skinner Street, London."

    Contemporary half brown calf, decoratively tooled in blind in a Greek key design, over marbled paper-covered boards. Neatly rebacked, preserving the original spine (receipt for the rebacking laid in). Spine decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments with five very slightly raised bands and dark brown title leather label ruled and lettered in gilt; circular (date?) label apparently removed from spine. Marbled edges and endpapers (endpapers possibly renewed). The binding is rubbed, with some surface loss; boards exposed at edges and corners, except for lower corner of front cover, which has been renewed; hinges repaired with cloth tape. Occasional foxing and browning; a few mostly marginal stains or dampstains; a few small rust spots and adhesions. Short (one-and-one-half-inch) tear from outer edge of 3U3 (pages 517/518), just entering text; tiny sliver torn from upper edge of 4H1 (pages 601/602); a few additional short marginal tears or paper flaws. Several leaves with slight creasing; horizontal crease to G2 (pages 43/44), affecting one line of text on both recto and verso; diagonal crease to 4P4 (pages 663/664), affecting a few letters. Large folding engraved map loosely laid in, the first panel (including title) torn away, with several splits at folds, most repaired or strengthened on the verso, and a short marginal tear. A folding lithographed facsimile map ("Reproduced from the Archives of the Oregon Historical Society") has been bound in. Considerable foxing and offsetting to the folding map and to the plates and adjacent text leaves. Circular blindstamp of the Nevada State Library in the upper corner of the front cover; additional circular library stamp (Property Nevada State Library) partially removed from blank portion of title-page, resulting in a weakened area and a few short creases and tears; library call number written neatly in black ink on title-page verso and in lower gutter of page [v] (first page of "Preface, by the English Editor"). Bookplate removed from front pastedown. A few neat pencil markings and annotations, including a correction in the text on page 534, line 13 (the "5" changed to "6" in the phrase "Thursday, May 1, 1805, we collected our horses"). Overall, still, a very good copy.

    Coues, page cxxv; Field 929; Graff 2480; Hill 1018; Howes L317;The Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 5a.2; Paltsits, page lxxvii; Sabin 40829; Streeter 3128; Wagner-Camp-Becker 13:2; Wheat, Transmississippi West, 317, and II, pages 56-59. Grolier, 100 American, 30, and Printing and the Mind of Man 272 (both describing the 1814 Philadelphia edition).

    More Information:

    "Beyond the Missouri River there lay a vast and largely unexplored territory which bordered on the western reaches of the United States. Ceded by France to Spain in 1762 and then back to France in 1800 it was at this period visited only by some British and a few French trappers. The importance of exploring this area had been evident to Thomas Jefferson as early as 1783, when he had proposed the project to George Rogers Clark; but it was not until twenty years later that Jefferson, then President of the United States, saw the realization of his idea. The purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in December 1803 greatly increased the importance of the expedition, which finally began its long journey to the headwaters of the Missouri in May of the following year. That year they wintered in the Mandan villages in the Dakotas and in the Spring pushed on west across the Rocky Mountains and then down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. Returning by the same route nearly two-and-a-half years after they had set out they arrived back at St. Louis in September 1806 to the amazed delight of the nation which had given them up for lost. Though unsuccessful in their attempt to find a transcontinental water route, they had demonstrated the feasibility of overland travel to the western coast" (Printing and the Mind of Man).

    "The text of this elegant British edition follows Philadelphia 1814 closely. Its editor, Thomas Rees, describes it [xiv] as 'printed nearly verbatim' from sheets supplied by the American publishers, the only liberty taken being 'the correction of a few inadvertent grammatical or typographical errors.' Rees's preface includes President Jefferson's message of February 19, 1806, and an extract from Lewis's Fort Mandan letter to the President of 'April 17th [i.e. 7th] 1805.' It also makes reference to the Jefferson pamphlet of 1806 (though not to its 1807 London printing), to the surreptitious 1809 London edition (see 4a.2), and to the 1808 London edition of Gass's Journal. Omitted in this edition are Allen's original preface, Jefferson's seventeen-page 'Life of Lewis,' and the eighty-eight page ethnographic and scientific appendix drawn up by Lewis" (The Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, page 174).

    "The work which is here given to the public, contains the official Journal of this extraordinary and interesting Journey; the importance of which, to geographical science, will readily be estimated by those who are acquainted with the glaring imperfections of the best Maps hitherto published of the countries that are here described. As every reader will have the opportunity of judging for himself, it were superfluous to say any thing in this place as to the admirable address, the discretion, perseverance, and intrepidity, which were on all occasion evinced by the commanding officers throughout the whole of their long, hazardous, and fatiguing route, during which they proved themselves eminently qualified for the important trust which had been committed to them" (Thomas Rees, editor of the English edition, in his preface).


    "This is the most beautiful in typography and mechanical execution of all the editions of Lewis and Clarke's [sic] work. Its large margin, clear impression, and noble appearance, are worthy of this model of works of travel and exploration...How large a portion of the work is devoted to Indian affairs may be ascertained by the headings of chapters: ii. 'Some Account of the Pawnee Indians;' iii. 'Superstition of the Sioux, and Council with the Sioux Indians;' iv. 'Council with the Tetons, Their Manners, &c.;' v. 'Council with the Mandans;' vi. 'The Party increase in favor with the Mandans-Description of their Ceremonies;' vii. 'Indian mode of attacking the Buffalo on the ice;' xiv. 'Interview with the Shoshonies;' xv. 'Council with that Nation.' Nineteen of the remaining twenty-one chapters are devoted to the narration of the peculiarities of the savage nations which were encountered" (Field).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2016
    15th Thursday
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