di A. Duhaut-Cilly con l’aggiunta delle osservazioni degli abitanti di quei paesi di Paolo Emilio Botta ; traduzione dal francese nell’ italiano di Carlo Botta. Torino : Stabilimento Tipografico Fontana, 1841. First Italian edition. (Note: although the imprint on the bindings is dated 1843, the title pages of both volumes have the date 1841). Two volumes, octavo (220 mm), original printed papered boards (one with scattered staining); xvi, 296; 392 pp. illustrated with 4 woodcut plates; occasional pale foxing, uncut, complete.
The first Italian edition, expanded from the first French edition, of ‘a rare and important work by the captain of a French trading vessel, particularly important for its detailed examination of California during the last phase of its Spanish period.’ (Forbes). This important edition includes an essay by Dr. Paolo Emilio Botta, the ship’s surgeon and an amateur naturalist, Observations on the inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands and California. Botta’s Hawaiian observations are followed by an Italian-Hawaiian vocabulary and a list of Hawaiian numerals.
Duhaut-Cilly’s account was not published in English in the nineteenth century. The original French edition is now exceedingly rare and the work is best known through the two Italian editions.
Forbes 1260 (“an important edition of the Duhaut-Cilly narrative”); Hill 500; Howes D-547; Sabin 21165; Cowan, p. 74 (“Of the contemporary accounts of California this is the most extensive”).
‘August Bernard Duhaut-Cilly (1790-1849) enlisted in Napoleon’s navy at the age of seventeen and fought the British from the coast of West Africa to the Indian Ocean. He left the military in 1814 to join the merchant marine and became one of his nation’s most accomplished long-distance navigators. Unlike most sea captains, he was also an intellectual who read three languages and was an artist of considerable talent. After this voyage Duhaut-Cilly gave up the sea and retired to his native province of Brittany, where he served as the mayor of Saint Servan for several years before dying in 1849.
In April 1826 Duhaut-Cilly left France with a shipload of merchandise that his backers expected him to trade for furs on the Pacific coast of North America. Following a well-established route, he was to carry these American furs to China, where they would sell at a substantial profit, and then return to France. Unfortunately, the trade goods chosen in France did not much interest the Indians or the Spaniards of California. Duhaut-Cilly reached San Francisco at the start of 1827 and spent almost two years trying to unload his merchandise. By the end of 1828 he had tried ports from San Francisco to Peru, with two side trips to Hawaii. He finally reached China in December 1828, disposed of such cargo as he’d been able to assemble, rounded the Horn of Africa, and arrived back in France on July 19, 1829.
We probably profit from the voyage more than the investors did, because while Duhaut-Cilly lingered in California he wrote down enough observations of Spanish and Indian life to fill more than five hundred pages. The Franciscan mission system was at its height and Duhaut-Cilly, as a fellow Catholic, was allowed to see places and inquire about topics that would have been off-limits to an Englishman like Vancouver (see AJ-134), a Russian like Rezanov (see AJ-128) or an American like Wilkes (see AJ-135).
After his return, Duhaut-Cilly published his Voyage autour du Monde. principalement à la Californie et aux Iles Sandwich, pendant les années 1826, 1827, 1828, et 1829 (Paris, 1834-1835), much of it written on board ship while the events were unfolding. That French edition is so rare that only about a dozen copies are thought to have survived, and Duhaut-Cilly became better known through an 1841 Italian edition….’ (https://www.americanjourneys.org/aj-098/summary/index.asp)
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