London: Hurst and Blackett, 1861. 8vo. xii, , 312 pp. FIRST EDITION. With frontispiece plus 6 engraved plates, engraved title vignette, folding hand-coloured map. Contemporary half morocco and cloth, stained, corners worn; marbled endpapers. Ownership signature of David Maitland on title page, annotations; some browning on first and last blanks, but overall a clean copy. Item #13112
First edition, dedicated to Charles Lyell, of the author's account of his voyage in the north polar seas. Primarily a hunting expedition, Lamont recounts how he and his companions killed dozens of walrus, reindeer, polar bears and seals. His account includes information on animal behavior, as when he tells of a female walrus who, when her baby was attacked, "interposed her own body and seemed to receive with pleasure several harpoons that were intended for the young one." Lamont's interests included the then-new theory of natural selection, and he sent a copy of this book to Charles Darwin, who acknowledged the gift with a note that also thanked Lamont for being "so heroically bold as to defend my bear illustration," a reference to an example of a bear potentially evolving into an aquatic beast the size of a whale. This was an idea that Darwin had originally included in Origin of the Species, but he removed it after the second edition.
Lamont (1828-1913) was a Scottish nobleman, the fourteenth laird of Knockdow. He wrote one other book, Yachting in the Arctic Seas (1876).