"IT WOULD ENSURE HIM A PERMANENT PLACE IN AMERICAN NATURAL HISTORY": 1792 FIRST ENGLISH EDITION OF BARTRAM'S TRAVELS
BARTRAM, William. Travels through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws. London: J. Johnson, 1792. Thick octavo, 19th-century three-quarter green calf rebacked with elaborately gilt-decorated spine panels preserved, raised bands, later red morocco spine label, original marbled boards and endpapers. $6000.
First English edition (published the year after the extremely scarce American first edition) of Bartram's "unrivaled" account of life on the southern frontier, with frontispiece portrait of the chief of the Seminoles, folding map of East Florida and seven engraved botanical and zoological plates (one folding).
This illustrated masterpiece of 18th-century American travel is one of the most lively and informative works published about the South. Bartram traveled from Georgia and South Carolina as far north as Tennessee and west to modern-day Louisiana. His account is notable for its literary style (Coleridge drew from Bartram's descriptions of the lush southern landscape for his celebrated "Kubla Khan"). "Bartram's account of the remote frontier, of the plantations, trading posts, and Indian villages at the end of the 18th century is unrivaled" (Streeter II: 1088). "Although more especially a naturalist, [Bartram] neglected nothing which would add to the common stock of human knowledge. He not only offers us pictures of Indian life, and sketches of the striking peculiarities of the tribes he visited, but he gives us tables of the names and localities of the numerous towns of the populous nations of the Creeks and Cherokees. Fifty-three villages of the first, and 45 of the latter are enumerated and named" (Field 94). "A work of high character well meriting its wide esteem" (Howes B223). Sabin 3870.
Interior clean and fine, light expert restoration to board edges. An exceptionally good copy.