Le Vaillant, Francois
Title New Travels into the Interior Parts of Africa By Way of the Cape of Good Hope in the Years 1783, 84 and 85 ( 3 Volume Set )
Book Condition Very Good
Edition First Thus
Publisher Paternoster Row, London G.G. And J. Robinson 1796
Seller ID 069733
Professionally rebound with leather spine, raised bands, gilt lettering and floral motif on backstrip. Very tight 3 volume set, dull grey topstain, remaining edges with speckled stain. Magnificent maps and (copper)plate illustrations, all present with the exception of Plate 4 volume 1 and plate 15 volume 3. Some foxing throughout, otherwise exceptionally good condition. François Le Vaillant (1753-1824) was an adventurer and natural historian. He was the son of the French Counsel to Dutch Guiana. He grew up there and spent his early years studying and collecting specimens of birds. His first major monograph was on the birds of Africa. This grew out of his travels in Africa with the Dutch East India Company collecting specimens under the sponsorship of Jakob Temminck, the father of the Coenrad Jakob Temminck. Le Vaillant was one of the first to penetrate the interior of Africa where he discovered many new species. He wrote the 6 volume Historie Naturelle des Oiseaux D'Afrique while living in the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope. He also wrote about the conflict between the English and the Dutch over possession of the Cape. His own collection of plant and animal specimens was lost at sea when the English attacked the ship bearing it home.Le Vaillant arrived in South Africa at exactly the same time as the British commenced hostilities against the Dutch, and found his expedition in a miserable state when all his belonging were destroyed as the British blew up the Dutch ship he had been travelling on. He was befriended by a local Dutchmen, and was eventually able to start his exploration. Le Vaillant comments on the value of Nysena as a potential colony, the short-sightedness of the East India company's importation of lumber when there were plentiful forests around, and criticized the governor of Blettenberg's vanity. The narrative is characterised by the intelligent and interesting manner in which it is written, although the rhapsodies on the Hottentots must have sounded strange to colonial ears.