London: J. Murray, 1791.
First edition in English. 8vo. Vol. I: xiv, 2-289, with folded aquatint frontispiece; Vol. II: iv, 261,  (ads). Ex-library copies in recent three-quarter leather and marbled boards, new endpapers. Library ink stamps on three pages in each volume, foxing to first and last few pages of Vol. I and first few pages of Vol. II, otherwise sound and clean. "Pagès, an officer in the French Navy, was posted to Santo Domingo in 1766. The next year he apparently received a commission to search for a northwest passage by way of the eastern coast of Asia. He sailed first to New Orleans and proceeded to explore the Louisiana territory by traveling up the Mississippi and then taking a canoe up the Red River to Natchidoches. He traversed Texas on horseback to San Antonio and Laredo, then crossed Mexico, visiting Saltillo, San Luis Potosi, Mexico City, and Acapulco. From that port, Pagès sailed on the Manilla galleon to Guam and to the Philippines. This work offers much information on the Spanish colonial empire in North America and in the Orient. Unable to visit China, Pagès proceeded to Batavia on Java, Bombay and Surat in India, Muscat in Oman, then on to Persia. He then joined a caravan to Mesopotamia, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. From Acre, he sailed via several Mediterranean isles to Marseilles" (Hill 1285). The two volumes offered here cover all of the travels just described. A third volume, published in 1792, describes further travels in the polar regions. The veracity of Pagès account has been questioned by some scholars. Henry Wagner, in The Spanish Southwest, says "Pagès is supposed to have made a journey through Texas on horseback in 1767, passing from Natchitoches to the Rio Grande. The book contains numerous observations on Texas and the missions, but I have never been able to persuade myself that the author ever saw Texas. The work has all the appearance of being one made up in Paris, simulating a real journey, a common enough trick of the times." Thomas Streeter, however, argued that the work must be authentic because Alexander von Humboldt. in his Political Essay on New Spain, refers to Pagès being in Saltillo in 1767, "and there are two biographical sketches of Pagès...both of which record at some length this around the world journey and two later expeditions" (Bibliography of Texas 1027). Marilyn McAdams Sibley ("Across Texas in 1767: The Travels of Captain Pagès" Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 1967) states that this first London edition “is generally accepted as the first book in the English language which describes Texas."