A Pilgrimage in Europe and America, leading to the Discovery of the Sources of the Mississippi and Bloody River...and of the Ohio

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BELTRAMI, Giacomo Costantino (1779-1855). A Pilgrimage in Europe and America, leading to the Discovery of the Sources of the Mississippi and Bloody River...and of the Ohio. London: Printed for Hunt and Clarke, 1828.


2 volumes. 8vo., (8 ½ x 5 ½ inches). 3 fine folding engraved maps and plans (one with 2-inch tear affecting the image, some browning); fine engraved frontispiece showing “The Author in his Dress when among the Indians”; 3 engraved plates. Contemporary brown crushed morocco, gilt tooled, the spine in five compartments separated by four raised bands, black morocco gilt lettering pieces in two, the rest elaborately tooled in gilt (extremities rubbed, one or two surface abrasions).

Provenance: With the contemporary gift inscription of Edward Hugessen Knatchbull-Hugessen, 1st Baron Brabourne (1829-1893), the younger son of Sir Edward Knatchbull, 9th Baronet and Fanny Catherine Knight, a niece of Jane Austen.

First English edition, first published in French in 1824. “The author accompanied Major Long in his second expedition, who remarks: ‘An Italian whom we met at Fort St. Anthony [i.e. Fort Snelling] attached himself to the expedition, and accompanied us to Pembina. He has recently published a book which we notice merely on account of the fictions and misrepresentations which it contains.’ The ‘Revue encyclopedique,’ 1826, xxix. 457, criticised the work severely, and doubted the discovery. The author replied in a ‘Lettre sur la découverte d’un manuscrit mexicain,’ which was printed in Tome XXXII of the Revue, and in the English edition of his ‘Pilgrimage’” (Sabin). “Volume II is almost entirely devoted to the author’s travels among the Northwestern Indians, of whom he gives some novel particulars. The narrations of what he witnessed are tinged with the peculiar glow of the author’s temperament” (Field).

Edward Hugessen Knatchbull-Hugessen was the 1st Baron Brabourne as well as the great-nephew of Jane Austen. Upon his mother’s death, he inherited Austen’s letters. He edited the first edition of Jane Austen’s letters, which was published in 1884, and was also reasonably well known as the author of children’s stories. Here, a charming gift inscription from Knatchbull-Hugessen to his friend Oswald Augustus Smith upon his graduation from Eton, dated Easter 1844. This lovely copy of Beltrami’s seminal work is especially nice due to this distinguished provenance. Field 111; Howes B338 ("aa"); Sabin 4605; Wagner-Camp 26a:2.