Reise nach den Inseln Teneriffa, Trinidad, St. Thomas, St. Crux und Porto-Rico … Mit Bemerkonken begleitet, nebst einer allgemeinen Übersicht des gangen westindischen Archipels. André Pierre LEDRU.
Reise nach den Inseln Teneriffa, Trinidad, St. Thomas, St. Crux und Porto-Rico … Mit Bemerkonken begleitet, nebst einer allgemeinen Übersicht des gangen westindischen Archipels.
Reise nach den Inseln Teneriffa, Trinidad, St. Thomas, St. Crux und Porto-Rico … Mit Bemerkonken begleitet, nebst einer allgemeinen Übersicht des gangen westindischen Archipels.
A Botanical Voyage to the Caribbean
Leipzig, Büschler, 1811-12.

Reise nach den Inseln Teneriffa, Trinidad, St. Thomas, St. Crux und Porto-Rico … Mit Bemerkonken begleitet, nebst einer allgemeinen Übersicht des gangen westindischen Archipels.

8vo. [20.5 x 11.5 cm] in 2 volumes. I: xx pp., (2) ff., 84, 242 pp. (E & F and M & N signatures bound in reverse order). II: (4) ff., 236. Bound in matching contemporary quarter calf and papers over boards, spine in 6 compartments, gilt, with red morocco title label. Front pastedown of 2nd volume abraded. Discreet stamp of Graf von Veltheim on verso of titles. Tiny puncture in upper right corner of 2nd volume, edge of a single leaf in vol. 2 with pale waterstain. Generally excellent.

Rare first German edition of a travelogue of a voyage made in 1796-98 to the Canary Islands and Caribbean archipelagos by the expedition’s official naturalist. The translation appeared just two years after the French original (Paris, 1810).

Under the captaincy of famous mariner (and occasional slave trafficker) Nicolas Baudin (1754-1803), Ledru added much to European knowledge of flora and fauna in the Canary and Virgin Islands. Volume I includes over 100 pages on Tenerife, the largest of the seven Canaries, where the party remained for ten weeks, with numerous botanical and zoological observations and dozens of taxonomical records.  Volume II treats the party’s voyage to the Virgin Islands (chiefly St. Croix and St. Thomas) and Puerto Rico.  After 20 months in the Canaries and West Indies, Ledru and his colleagues returned to France with “450 stuffed birds, 4000 butterflies and other insects, 200 shells, seven cases of corals, crabs, sea urchins and starfish, 200 specimens of wood, four cases of seeds of 400 different species, 8000 dried plants from some 900 species, 800 living plants and shrubs from 350 species” (Brown 25), many of which are listed in the present work.

Perhaps unusually for a scientist in an era of growing specialization, Ledru does not confine his two-volume work to naturalistic research: he opens the travelogue with a dramatic retelling of the thunderstorm that nearly wrecked Baudin’s Belle Angélique, and later chapters provide demographic and geographical snapshots of the individual Canaries, even including short walking tours of towns (e.g. Laguna, Orotava, Taganana) in which Ledru points out notable sights and meditates on the region’s colonial history.  The work is preceded by a short essay by German geographer E.A.W. von Zimmerman, examining the colonial traffic (chiefly sugar, rum, cotton and tobacco) of the West Indies. 

The second volume of the present work, which bears a Leipzig imprint, was issued in Weimar with an added folding map of Puerto Rico.  Although the title-page to that second edition is still dated 1812, the map itself is dated 1814, suggesting that the volume was not released until that year. 

OCLC: NY Botanic, Missouri Botanic, Dartmouth and Penn.

Sabin 39688; Brown, Ill-starred Captains, pp. 23-26.

Price: $2,450.00

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