Paris: Gide, 1838. First French Edition. Octavo (ca. 21.5 x 14cm), x, 358. With two lithographed plates of a man and woman of Manila. Translated from Russian by Prince Emmanuel Galitzin. Handsome period brown gilt tooled quarter calf with marbled boards. Plates with some very minor foxing, but overall in very original near fine condition.
This first French edition contains "Dobell's remarks (pp. 232-241) regarding his voyage to Hawaii [not included in the first English edition]. In the supplement (note 42, pp. 334-335) there is a letter of March 25, 1820, from Riho-Riho (Kamehameha II) to the Tsar of Russia [also not included in the first English edition]"(Forbes 1090); "Dobell arrived in Kamchatka by sea in 1812, in the service of the Russian government. This journal records his personal observations of the manners, customs, population, religion, and resources during his fifteen years of traveling in China and Siberia. Much of this time, approximately seven years, he operated as a trader based in China; the second half of volume two describes his experiences and residence there (which had begun in 1798). Dobell indicates that his observations concentrate on the wonderful works of nature" in order that the reader may learn "how rich and interesting a region is Siberia, heretofore only represented to the imagination in the most gloomy and unattractive colors." The two excellent frontispieces illustrate this Siberian life" (Hill 484); Dobell was "an Irish trader and adventurer, [who] had formerly been a merchant at Canton. In return for negotiating the safety of Krusenstern's ship, which in 1804 was on the point of being seized by the Chinese at Canton, Tsar Alexander rewarded Dobell with the position of Russian consul-general to the Pacific Ocean. The appointment forced him to quit Canton and forfeit his business. From his base at Manila in the Philippines, Dobell travelled widely in the Pacific, visiting the Sandwich Islands and the ports of Siberia (1812)" (Howgego 1800-1850, C39). "British counselor at Alexander's court journeys from Kamchatka to the Ural Mountains, August-November, 1812. He provides a mass of detail about Siberia, its peoples, its resources, and the road that serves as the connection between the east and west limits of the Empire" (Nerhood 155); Peter Dobell was an intrepid adventurer and lived a truly exciting life. Born in Ireland and educated in Philadelphia, he travelled for 30 years, especially in South-East Asia and China where he went three times and lived for seven years. While in Canton Dobell met the Russian explorer Ivan Krusenstern who was on his famous circumnavigation. Dobell's was able to help the Russian expedition for which Emperor Alexander I sent him a diamond ring. This was probably one of the reasons why Dobell ultimately became a Russian citizen. Prompted by the idea of organising the regular supply of provisions to Kamchatka, in 1812 he sent two ships there from Manila on his own cost. Dobell also visited Kamchatka and then travelled to Saint Petersburg through Siberia. It was the diary of that travel which was first published in Saint Petersburg magazine "Syn Otechestva" in 1815-1816 and later in London (1830). In 1818 Alexander I approved Dobell's plan and appointed him Consul General of Russia's first mission in Manila. However the Spanish government refused to accept Dobell, but promised to support him as a private person. The adventurer returned to Kamchatka and obtained the title of the 2nd Guild merchant. He tried to start trade between Kamchatka and Manila several times but always unsuccessfully which resulted in great financial losses. His main competition was the Russian-American company which lobbied its interests in the Pacific and didn't allow foreign traders to come to the ports of the Eastern Siberia. Moreover, Dobell's property in Manila was destroyed during the riots, and he, almost ruined, returned to Saint Petersburg in 1828. In spite of everything, he didn't lose his courage and continued the life of traveller and thrill seeker (Russian Biographical Dictionary on-line); Cordier Sinica 2109.
Price: $1,250.00 USD