~~ Book 1855080628 ~~

A Visit to India, China and
Japan in the Year 1853

By Bayard Taylor, 1855

 

 
Condition. The book is in Very Good condition. The front and back boards are lightly faded. The spine is heavily faded/sunned. The corners are bumped and lightly frayed and the head and foot of the spine are soft. The binding is solid. Internally the pages are clean and free of foxing, staining or marking. The paper is supple, not brittle.

 
Taylor, Bayard:
A Visit to India, China and Japan In The Year 1853, 1855, New York - G.P. Putnam & Co., London - Sampson Low, Son & Co., 1855, with a black and white frontispiece (steel engraving), illustrated (steel engraving) short title page, 8vo (5 x 7 3/4 in), publisher's brown cloth with gilt decoration and lettering on the spine and blindstamped covers with ornate repeating oval design and "GPP&Co." in central oval frame, 539 pp.

The frontispiece is an Okinawan scene, the "The Valley of Unna in Lew Chew" drawn by Taylor.

The book is a narrative of Taylor's two and 1/3 year world travels of over 50,000 miles. The journey spanned most of the European countries, the Nile to Central Africa, Palestine, Asia Minor, India, China (twice), Okinawa and Japan. Taylor tied up with the Perry Expedition to Japan in Shanghai by actually joining the Navy as an "officer of very moderate rank" (p 361). During the expedition, Taylor traveled on board the Susquehanna as the personal clerk to Captain Buchanan. Taylor, America's most popular literary journalist of that period, accompanied the expedition and recorded the military and diplomatic maneuvers by which Perry gained access to Japanese officials. He was not on the entire expedition but was on the expedition to Japan during May to September, 1853 time period which included a visit to Okinawa, the delivery of the President's letter and the return to Hong Kong and Macau. After smoking a little opium in Canton, Taylor terminated his brief career as a Naval Officer in September of 1853 and headed home on commercial vessels. The Perry Expedition portion of the book spans approximately one-fourth of the book (ca 140 pages).

Taylor's account of the visit to Okinawa is perhaps one of the most informative (outside the original Narrative of the Expedition) account of life in Okinawa in the mid-19th century. His first observation, on viewing the Island from sea on May 27, 1853 was:

When the next morning dawned, bright and clear, I though I had never seen a more lovely landscape than the island presented. (page 366)
The Loo-Choo account (pages 364-388) given by Taylor touches on many different aspects from geography, cultural properties, government, local customs, structures and living conditions, commerce, diet and agricultural practices, to name just a few.

Illustrated Title Page

Full Title Page

The Valley of Unna in Lew Chew - Frontispiece

Steel Engraving from a Drawing by B. Taylor

Collation. Full Title: A Visit to India, China and Japan In The Year 1853, New York, G.P. Putnam, 1855, Frontispiece (engraving - Valley of Ulnna in Loo Choo) with tissue guard, Short Title Page with (engraving - Taj Mahal), Title Page (2 pages -"Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855"), Dedication Page, Preface (4 pages), Contents (9 pages + 1 blank page - ix-xvii), Text (numbered pages 13-539).



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