BENYOWSKY, Mauritius Augustus Conde de (1741-1786). Memoirs and Travels. London: G.G.J. and J. Robinson, 1790. 2 vols., 4° (294 x 230mm). Half-titles, directions to the binder leaf at the end of vol. I. Engraved portrait vignette on title of vol. I, 23 engraved plates and maps, many folding. (Marginal tear to I.f1 at gutter without loss, tiny holes to I.Z2 and II.Bb1, the latter with the loss of a few letters, light marginal stain to II.Rr1, large repaired tear to folding map of Louisbourg, frayed margin of plate 'The Course of the River Tingballe' just into plate margin with loss of a few letters, plate 'The method of preparing Manioc root for bread' almost loose, some other minor tears without loss to a few folding plates, occasional variable light browning.) Original marbled-paper covered boards, uncut (rebacked preserving original backstrips, hinges reinforced), modern leather-backed clamshell boxes.
FIRST EDITION OF BENYOWSKY'S POPULAR ACCOUNT. Benyowsky's 'eventful life involved him in political action for which the Russian government exiled him to Siberia. With a handful of equally adventurous men, he escaped from Kamchatka by sea in 1771. The trip took them to Japan, Formosa, and China. The work contains interesting accounts of Siberia, the Russian fur trade, and the history, life, and customs of Kamchatka. The author also describes the Kurile and Aleutian Islands, and claims to have landed on the Alaskan mainland' (Hill). Most of the second volume records Benyowsky's activities in Madagascar in the name of the French government. Cordier Japonica 454; Cordier Sinica 277; Hill 115; Lada-Mocarski 45.