EDWARDS, Bryan (1743-1800). The History, Civil and Commercial of the British Colonies in the West Indies. London: John Stockdale, 1793.

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2 volumes. 4to., (10 2/8 x 8 2/8 inches). Fine large folding map on two separate sheets "A New Map of the West Indies for the History of the British Colonies." in volume one, 3 double-page and 3 folding letterpress tables. Contemporary tree calf, smooth spines gilt-ruled in six compartments, red morocco lettering-pieces in two, others finely decorated with small gilt tools (volume one expertly rebacked preserving the original spine).

Provenance: Engraved armorial bookplates of St. Andrew Ld. St. John of Bletsoe, 14th Baron (1759-1817) on each front paste-down.


First edition, and AN ATTRACTIVE COPY, internally bright and fresh, issue without plates as sometimes found. Bryan Edwards was a Jamaican planter and politician: "he articulated the planter view concerning the value of the West Indian colonies to Great Britain, and opposed the abolition of the slave trade. Edwards disputed European scientific speculation that the 'New World' environment retarded nature, although his scientific interests have largely gone unnoticed. Elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1794, he became a Member of Parliament in 1796, and wrote a History of Haiti in the following year. As Secretary of the African Association, Edwards edited the African travel journals of Mungo Park" (Royal Society online). Sabin 21905. Catalogued by Kate Hunter