HALL, Captain Basil (1788-1844). Travels in North America in the Years 1827 and 1828. Edinburgh: For Cadell and Co., 1829.

$ 1,000.00

3 volumes. 8vo., (8 x 4 ¾ inches). Fine engraved frontispiece “Map of the United States and Canada” with original hand color (detached, some toning), folding demographic chart. Later quarter maroon morocco, marbled boards, the spine in six compartments separated by five raised bands, gilt lettered in three and the rest gilt tooled, all edges marbled (front cover of volume I detaching).

First edition. Hall was s Captain in the British Navy, who published many accounts of his travels, most notably his “Account of a Voyage of Discovery to the West Coast of Correa, and the Great Loo-Choo Island,” 1818. Having resigned from the Navy in 1823, Hall spent fourteen months of 1827-1828 touring the United States and, for nine weeks, Canada. “Aided by his literary reputation and more than 100 letters of recommendation, he dined with famous people such as President John Quincy Adams, the governors of several states, and artists and academics, toured all the chief eastern rivers, including the Alabama between Montgomery and Mobile, as well as the Great Lakes, the chief canals, and the Gulf of Mexico between Mobile and New Orleans. Hall's most significant land journey was by carriage across Georgia, an adventure far different from any in the more advanced eastern states, and one that included his being feted by the Creek Indians. Altogether he claimed to have traveled 8,800 miles in the United States and Canada. “Hall’s three-volume ‘Travels in North America in the Years 1827 and 1828,’ published in 1829 in Edinburgh and London, was one of the most widely read of over 200 such books written by British travelers to North America before the Civil War. Like all of these books, however, it was in general condemned by American readers inordinately sensitive to and defensive about any European’s judgments concerning the new nation’s political experiments, its classless society, and its system of slavery which, especially to Britons at the time, was becoming more and more abhorrent. Nevertheless, perhaps in part because of Hall’s intent to help his countrymen ‘think the Americans more worthy of regard and confidence,’ perhaps in part because he was determined to learn about America only from Americans, Hall’s ‘Travels’ was more nearly acceptable in the United States than contemporaneous accounts by Frances Trollope, Dickens, and, especially, the outspoken Marryat, another retired naval captain who visited the United States in 1837-1838. Readers today, especially Americans, will in fact find Hall’s keen, detailed, and well-written observations to be both just and significant. One highly original side feature of this American journey was the collection of forty drawings Hall made with the help of the camera lucida, and which he published simultaneously with the ‘Travels’ in a small volume that underwent several editions. The ‘Travels’ itself had two more editions in its first year” (Percy Addams for ANB). Sabin 29725. Howes H-47. Clark III 48. Dionne II 1045. Lande 404.

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