BENNETT, George (1804–1893). Wanderings in New South Wales, Batavia, Pedir Coast, Singapore, and China; being the Journal of a Naturalist in those Countrie, During 1832, 1833, and 1834. London: Richard Bentley, 1834.

$ 550.00

BENNETT, George (1804–1893). Wanderings in New South Wales, Batavia, Pedir Coast, Singapore, and China; being the Journal of a Naturalist in those Countrie, During 1832, 1833, and 1834. London: Richard Bentley, 1834.

2 volumes. 8vo., (8 4/8 x 5 2/8 inches). Half-title in volume I. Aquatint frontispieces of Bugong Mountain (detached and creased), and "Dutch & English portion of the European Factory at Canton", illustrated with wood-engravings throughout. Original green cloth, gilt (a few stains).

Provenance: with the pencilled ownership inscriptions of J. Wallace on the front paste-down of each volume; with the small ink library stamp of Hugh Selbourne, his sale, Bonhams, 8th March 2016, lot 261

First edition. Wanderings by Bennett from 1828 to 1835 "embraced a wide area of the Pacific, and when he returned to England from one voyage in 1831, he brought with him a large collection of plants, as well as a live Ungka ape from Singapore and a young native girl named Elau from the New Hebrides; the girl, who had been rescued when about to be sacrificed by a hostile tribe, died at Plymouth in 1834. Numerous papers on natural history were written by Bennett as a result of his journeys; they included, in particular, discussions of plants, a description of the living animal of the pearly nautilus, and remarks on certain elements in the fauna of Australia, and these writings were responsible for his election as a fellow of the Linnean Society of London and a corresponding member of the Zoological Society.

"Bennett had first visited Australia in 1829. He did so again in 1832, arriving in spring and becoming immediately impressed by 'the beauties of the Kingdom of Flora which are lavished so profusely in this colony'. Travels inland followed, and so keen was his work, notably on the platypus, then not definitely proved to be oviparous, that he was able to send Owen many specimens of extant fauna and a considerable number of fossils. He then published Wanderings in New South Wales … Being the Journal of a Naturalist, vols 1-2 (London, 1834), a work of merit for its good writing and generally sound observation; his only serious slip was in regard to the nesting habits of the lyrebird, upon which he was apparently misled by Aboriginals" (A. H. Chisholm, 'Bennett, George (1804–1893)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University)Ferguson, 1743.