London: J. Mawman, 1825.
First Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. 4to, pp. vii, 326; recent quarter-leather and marbled boards. New endpapers, recent bookplate on front pastedown. Frontispiece foxed, all else very clean and sound. Hill (1833): "Waterton was an enterprising traveler and a zealous naturalist. He was an unrivaled expert in taxidermy, and the frontispiece to this volume shows his celebrated 'Nondescript man," made up from various odds and ends. His country neighbors in Yorkshire believed he had a real stuffed human being on his premises, which almost caused a local riot....His narrative is full of descriptions of birds, animals, and Indians, and it is an outstanding work on the natural history of Columbia and Venezuela." Borba de Moraes (p. 372) notes that this was the first work to describe the plants and animals of the tropics--previously known mainly as museum specimens--from personal observation. The part dealing with the United States recounts a journey inspired by Alexander Wilson's "animated description" of American birds. After sailing to New York, Waterton traveled up the Hudson to Albany and then on to Buffalo, Quebec, and back to Saratoga via Lakes Champlain and George. Fairly soon into this journey he realized that "I had come into the wrong country to look for bugs, bears, brutes, and buffaloes," but he found his travels pleasurable none the less and writes favorably of the landscape and the people: "There is nothing haughty or forbidding in the Americans; and wherever you meet them, they appear to be quite at home....The immense number of highly polished females who go in the stages to visit the different places of amusement, and see the stupendous natural curiosities of this extensive county, incontestably proves that safety and convenience are assured to them, and that the most distant attempt at rudeness would, by common consent, be immediately put down." Sabin 102094; Howes W-158.