Philadelphia: E.L. Carey and A. Hart, 18361837.
Hardcover. Very Good. Octavo, pp. 4 (ads), viii, 456, with folding map as frontispiece. Bound in later cloth-backed boards with paper spine label (resembling, but not a facsimile of, the original binding). Second American edition, which is apparently identical to the first of 1836. Old tidemark to outer margin of first few leaves, scattered foxing (generally light) throughout, archival repair to verso of map, which is slightly mis-folded; otherwise sound and clean. Back's 1833 expedition was planned to provide assistance to the Second Ross Expedition (which had sailed in the summer of 1829 to seek the Northwest Passage and not been heard from since), but became a scientific venture after it was learned that Ross and his men had returned safely. The party traveled overland from Montreal to Fort Resolution on the Great Slave Lake. Back and five men, including a Native American guide, then proceeded by canoe and portage to seek thesource of the Great Fish River (now the Back River), traversing hundreds of miles of lakes, forests, and treacherous rapids. The narrative includes descriptions of rivers and lakes traversed; land forms, rock types, and plant and animal life; and the difficulties of canoe travel, as well as observations about the native peoples. It is regarded as "one of the finest travel books of the nineteenth century" (Howgego B3). Arctic Bibliography 851; Smith 393.