Travels From St. Petersburg in Russia to Diverse Parts of Asia
In Two Volumes — Complete
By Bell, John
Glasgow: for the Author by Robert and Andrew Foulis, 1763, First Edition. 2 volumes, octavo â€“ 24.6 cm. Volume I: [xvii] – including list of subscribers, (2), Map, 357 pp. (2 pp. Publisherâ€™s Advertisements); Volume II: (1), 426pp., (1pp.) – Alterations by the Author for Volumes I & II. Period full-calf with more recent full leather spines and gilt titles. Boards with wear on surfaces and extremities, but overall a very good and complete set. Large fold-out map with expert perimeter restoration as frontispiece to Volume I — map shows the route from Moscow to Peking with inset of the “North Front of Pekinâ€ť. Attractive bookplate inside front covers from Royal Society of Literature. Excellent condition internally. Rare and complete.
The account of the John Bell’s remarkable journey from St. Petersburg through Siberia and into China on behalf of the Russian tsar. Bell’s narrative includes detailed descriptions of the manners, customs, geography and scenery in the countries visited. Bell departed St Petersburg on July 15, 1715 and proceeded to Moscow, and from there to Kazan and south along the Volga to Astrakhan. The mission then sailed down the Caspian Sea to Derbent and travelled on to Esfahan in Persia, where they arrived on March 14, 1717. They left Esfahan on September 1 and returned to St Petersburg via Saratov on December 30, 1718. On his return Bell learned of another mission to China. Bell’s account of the journey to Kazan and through Siberia to China is possibly the most complete and interesting part of his travels. Of particular note are his descriptions of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese wall, and his residence in Peking” (Howgego). Blackmer 111; Cox I, 256; Howgego, I, B62.