Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1859.
First Edition. Two volumes, pp. 492; 496; with five folding maps, 20 beautiful colored lithograph plates, and additional wood-engraved illustrations in the text. An attractive set in contemporary 3/4 leather and marbled boards, gilt spines with black and red leather labels. Volume II rebacked with original spine laid down, both volumes with a theology school library stamp on verso of frontis and on the final page (no other markings). Tidemark to frontispiece of Volume I; Volume II lacking part of table of contents and with evidence of an old repair to the rear hinge, largest map with a tear where it attaches to the book. Both volumes otherwise complete, sound, and quite clean. Good to very good overall. In 1857 Oliphant, a well-traveled lawyer, diplomat, and writer, became private secretary to Lord Elgin (James Bruce) on his visit to the Far East, aimed at opening up China and Japan to Western trade. "He accompanied Elgin to Hong Kong, was present at the bombardment of Canton (Guangzhou), and helped to storm Tientsin (Tianjin). He was employed in several minor missions, and visited Japan with the expedition barely eighteen months after the American Townsend Harris had been accredited as the first foreign diplomat to the shogun's government" (DNB). "Bruce managed to secure a treaty at Tientsin providing for the provision of a British minister, additional facilities for British trade, and protection of Protestants and Catholics. Bruce and Oliphant then proceeded to Japan, where another treaty was made to open certain ports to British trade and to admit foreigners into the country" (Hill 1258). Map titles: The Peiho River, Map of China, Empire of Japan, Chart and Harbour of the Bay of Yedo, The Yang-Tse Kiang River. Cordier (Sinica) 2376.