London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1824. ,511pp. plus folding frontispiece map of the United States (with states outlined in color), folding chart of the straits of Niagara, folding table, and other tables in text. Modern three-quarter leather and marbled boards, gilt label. Two bookplates on front pastedown. Small tape repair on verso of frontispiece map. Text lightly tanned, offsetting on titlepage and frontispiece map. Very good plus. Item #WRCAM57796
The author, an Englishman named William N. Blane, travelled extensively throughout the east and northeast in Canada and the United States, recounting his visits in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. In his U.S. travels, Blane focuses on the Midwest, though Clark states that perhaps one- fourth of the description relates to the South. Blane arrived in New York from London and found it gripped by an epidemic of Yellow Fever, at which point he proceeded west until he encountered Morris Birkbeck's English settlement in Illinois, and also visited St. Louis. The narrative contains material regarding slavery, indigenous tribes, the backwoods frontier, housing, emigration, government, laws, the Harmony Society, Shakers, and more. The frontispiece is a large, handcolored folding map of the United States as far west as modern New Mexico, originally published by John Melish in 1820, and an in-text folding map depicts the Straits of Niagara. The last several chapters deviate from the travel narrative and describe individual aspects of American life and society, including the army, buffalo, education, and religion.
"[Blane] criticized his own countrymen for their prejudiced and unfair accounts of American life, but noted evidence of a changing attitude. He concluded that the frontier was not a place where immigrant Englishmen would be happier, but recommended any part of America for the poor Irish" - Clark.
This copy bears the bookplate of noted Philadelphia collector Joseph Y. Jeanes, and 19th-century bookplate of Frederick Perkins of Chipstead, Kent. Perkins' collection was sold at Sotheby's in 1889, and boasted a wealth of Shakespeare quartos and folios. A desirable and informative travel account, which was reissued fours years later as TRAVELS THROUGH THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA. HOWES B521, "aa." CLARK II:184. GRAFF 327. BUCK 174. SABIN 5872 (note).