8vo., (8 ¼ x 5 ½ inches). Fine folding engraved map of the United States (unevenly browned, offsetting to title page). Contemporary dark green calf, both covers gilt-ruled, the smooth spine in six gilt-ruled compartments, red morocco gilt lettering piece in one, gilt florets in the rest (rebacked, preserving much of the original spine).
Provenance: Bookplate of Henry Shaw (1800-1889) to front pastedown.
First edition in English, first published in Paris the previous year. Michaux’s classic narrative of travels west of the Allegheny Mountains. Michaux is most famous as a botanist and author of the comprehensive “North American Sylva.” The 1800-mile journey chronicled in this book began when his father Andrew Michaux embarked on the Baudin voyage to Australia in 1800. “Michaux began to seek an opportunity to continue his father's work in North America. With the support of Jean Chaptal, minister of the interior, he sailed for America and arrived at Charleston, South Carolina, on 9 October 1801. He had been instructed to close down the nursery [founded by his father] at Charleston for economic reasons, and he sent back to France those seedlings he thought worthy of cultivation. In the spring of 1802 Michaux toured the forests of New Jersey with David Hosack and also visited Hosack’s newly established Elgin Botanic Garden in New York. From there he made an extended visit to Philadelphia, where he met William Bartram and saw William Hamilton’s fine collection of trees at Woodlands. He then made a journey through Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee before returning to Carolina, and he met on the way many of his father’s old acquaintances. He returned to France at the end of 1803 to organize the shipments of plants and seeds that he had sent back and to make a series of reports on his work. Clearly by then he had formed the idea of producing a major work on the trees of North America” (Ian MacPhail for ANB). Thomson, 822. Howes M-579. Clark II, 106. Sabin 48704. Graff 2780. Bradford 3461.