"STIMULATED CURIOSITY CONCERNING ROUTES TO THE PACIFIC LATER SATISFIED BY MACKENZIE AND LEWIS AND CLARK": CARVER'S SEMINAL WORK ON THE EXPLORATION OF THE AMERICAN WEST, 1778 FIRST EDITION
CARVER, Jonathan. Travels through the Interior Parts of North-America, in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768. London: for the Author, 1778. Thick octavo, contemporary marbled boards sympathetically rebacked in brown calf, raised bands, original red morocco spine label laid down; pp.(20), (i) ii-xvi, (17) 18-543 (1). $5500.
First edition of this early history of exploration of the American west, with two large folding maps and four copper-engraved plates, one of which is a view of the Falls of St. Anthony, the first illustration of both the Falls and what is now the site of Minneapolis, a handsome copy in contemporary marbled boards.
"Carver penetrated farther into the West than any other English explorer before the Revolution" (Howes). The Travels was an immediate bestseller, soon translated into several European languages, and "stimulated curiosity concerning routes to the Pacific, later satisfied by Mackenzie and Lewis and Clark" (Howes). His geographical discoveries and his observations concerning the various Indian tribes he encountered proved an important precursor to the Mackenzie and Lewis and Clark expeditions more than 30 years later. Beginning at Fort Michilimackinac, Carver journeyed through Lake Michigan and Green Bay, then down the Fox and Wisconsin rivers to the upper Mississippi. From there his travels branched west to the Falls of St. Anthony (present-day Minneapolis) and up the St. Pierre River, where he wintered in 1766. Over the next couple of years he traveled north and east around Lake Superior. The folding map delineating Carver's route is heavily annotated with his comments on the various Indian tribes he encountered, the small and large lakes and rivers along his path, and the possible route to a northwest passage. Carver was also one of the very first to suspect the existence of a massive north-south mountain range somewhere west of the Mississippi, which he refers to as the Shining Mountains. This turned out to be, of course, the great Rockies. "Carver penetrated beyond the 97th degree of west longitude, and gives most interesting details of the Indian tribes inhabiting that (at the time) remote region. [In the first edition] will be found the earliest mention of the name Oregon" (Stevens 1638). With errata at rear. ESTC T133718. Howes C215. Field 251. Sabin 11184. Streeter III:1772. With bookplate of bibliophile Edward M. Crane, managing head of D. Van Nostrand prior to its merger with Reinhold.
Interior generally fresh with light scattered foxing, mild edge-wear, foxing to boards. A nearly fine copy in contemporary boards.