London: Printed for G G J and J Robinson, 1786. Second edition and most complete. Hardcover. This copy has an interesting American association with the original presentation inscription from John Gibson to Alex Henderson. The pair were noted plantation owners in what is now West Virginia at the time of publication. Other later owners include George Washington Henderson, (grandson of Alexander), who settled in Fairfax, Va., and was friend, neighbor and pew mate of George Washington. Indeed, it was Washington himself, a former surveyor, who encouraged the Henderson family in the late 18th century to invest in land in what was then sparsely populated western Virginia. Other owner signatures include M.P. Beeson, Wood County W.Va. Aug 1879 and Virginia Henderson Thomas 1936.
Anders Sparrman was a Swedish naturalist, abolitionist and an apostle of Carl Linnaeus. Sparrman was the son of a clergyman. At the age of nine he enrolled at Uppsala University, beginning medical studies at fourteen and becoming one of the outstanding pupils of Linnaeus. In 1765 he went on a voyage to China as ship's doctor, returning two years later and describing the animals and plants he had encountered. On this voyage he met Carl Gustaf Ekeberg. He sailed for the Cape of Good Hope in January 1772 to take up a post as a tutor. Sparrman, traveled to the Cape in early 1772 on a botanical expedition sponsored by the Swedish government and made several excursions into the country in search of natural history specimens. When James Cook arrived there later in the year at the start of his second voyage, Sparrman was taken on as assistant naturalist to Johann and Georg Forster. For the next three years he served with Cook and although in his "Voyage" he devotes only 24 pages to the Cook expedition, he does include an account of a narrow escape from collision of Cook’s two ships, the Adventure and the Resolution, not recorded elsewhere. After the voyage he returned to Cape Town in July 1775 and practiced medicine, earning enough to finance a journey into the interior. (Cox). Sparrman’s account of his explorations into Africa is important for its natural history and anthropological observations of Southern Africa and is, according to Theal, "the most trustworthy account of the Cape Colony and the various races of people then residing in it, that has been published in the 18th century" (Mendelssohn II, 414-15), (Withey, 201). First issued in Swedish in 1783; the English translation first appeared in London earlier in 1785. Cox I, 386; Holmes, Captain James Cook: A Bibliographical Excursion, 54; Spence 1147; Rosove 316.C1 (citing it as "scarce"); Beddie 1277, Conrad p. 14; Chavanne 5731.
This is the second English edition, considered the most correct and complete according to Rolf du Rietz in the Kroepelien catalogue. Two volumes, 4to, xxviii, 368pp with frontispiece and two plates & viii, 356pp, I [addendum & directions to the book-]binder, (1), 2 [advertisements]; 7 unlisted plates and one fold out map (Rosove lists the map as appearing in volume 1; here it is in volume 2). In total, ten engraved plates and a folding map. A little scattered foxing throughout, a slightly more early and late, bound in contemporary lightly sprinkled tan full calf, sympathetically rebacked with raised bands and retaining the original spine labels and volume numbers. A very pleasant copy overall of the best edition, which Rosove calls "scarce" Very good condition. Item #19801