London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, & Brown, 1818. 8vo. [iv], 543 pp. FIRST EDITION. Large folding engraved map of the Niagara frontier signed Sidney Hall and wood-engravings in the text. Contemporary half-calf and marbled boards, rebacked with spine label; red speckled fore-edge. An excellent, very clean copy with the bookplate of Joseph Harrison Jr. on the front paste-down and Theodore L Harrison on the rear paste-down, small label of Henry Selden Weller, and an ownership stamp of Pierre de Poletica (1778-1849), Russian charge d’affaires in Washington from 1819-1821, above the title. Item #17602
First edition. After his arrival in New York, Hall traveled up the Hudson to Albany and into Canada where he visited Quebec, Montreal, Kingston, Niagara, and York. Returning to America, he toured Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Harpers Ferry, Charlottesville, and Monticello, where he stayed with Jefferson for one night. He then visited Richmond, Petersburg, Raleigh, Fayetteville, China Grove, Georgetown and Charleston, South Carolina. Hall’s descriptions of the topography and geography of the land are detailed and concise and paint a romantic picture of area. He provides a precise travelogue of his journey, including a listing of costs expended for food, lodging, etc. Although in an appendix he offers his opinion on the American character, government, and slavery, both Clark and Sabin note his remarkable lack of prejudice for a British visitor of the period.
The map, “The Niagara Frontier,” depicting the region between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, is in excellent condition with no rips or tears. The fine wood-engravings consist of small aerial views of towns and river systems.
Hall (d. 1833) was a lieutenant in the British army as well as an author. He traveled to North America as a military secretary in 1815 and retired from active duty in 1817 upon which he recorded his journeys through Canada and the United States. In 1819, he joined the revolutionary cause in South America and eventually settled in the new nation of Columbia where he served as the head of the government’s topographical department.