Transatlantic Sketches, Comprising Visits to the Most Interesting Scenes in North and South America, and the West Indies with Notes on Negro Slavery and Canadian Emigration
Publisher: Key and Biddle
vii, -378 pages. Royal octavo (9" x 5 3/4") bound in period half leather with gilt lettering to spine over original marbled boards. First American edition, published in England in the same year in two volumes with maps and illustrations.
General Sir James Edward Alexander KStJ CB FRSE FRGS (16 October 1803 – 2 April 1885) was a Scottish traveler, author and soldier in the British Army. Born in Stirling, he was the eldest son of Edward Alexander of Powis, Clackmannanshire, and his second wife Catherine Glas, daughter of John Glas, Provost of Stirling. The family purchased Powis House near Stirling in 1808 from James Mayne (his uncle by marriage) for £26,500. His father, a banker, had to sell Powis House in 1827 on collapse of the Stirling Banking Company. He received his training in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. In 1853 he obtained Westerton House in Bridge of Allan, built in 1803 by Dr John Henderson of the East India Company (a cousin and friend). Here he became an elder of Logie Kirk, walking there each Sunday. He died in Ryde on the Isle of Wight but is buried in Old Logie Churchyard just east of his home town of Stirling. The graveyard lies several hundred metres north of Logie Cemetery and the 19th century Logie Kirk. In 1820, he joined the British East India Company's army, transferring into the British Army in 1825. As aide-de-camp to the British envoy to Persia, he witnessed fighting during the war between Persia and Russia in 1826 and in 1829 was present in the Balkans during the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829. From 1832 to 1834, he witnessed the War of the Two Brothers in Portugal, and in 1835 he took part in the 6th Cape Frontier War in South Africa as aide-de-camp and private secretary to Sir Benjamin d'Urban. He was the son-in-law of Charles Collier Michell, having married in Cape Town on 25 October 1837 his daughter Eveline Marie, born 16 April 1821. On behalf of the Royal Geographical Society (which he had co-founded), he conducted an exploring expedition into Namaqualand and Damaraland, lasting from 8 September 1836 to 21 September 1837, in the course of which he collected rock specimens, pelts of rare animals, birdskins, weapons and implements from the Herero and Nama, as well as drawing maps of the region and making a first list of Herero words. Subsequently, Arrowsmith made use of his data to draw a map accompanying his book of the expedition. Alexander Bay on the Orange River mouth, is named after him. In 1877, he was largely responsible for the preservation and transfer of Cleopatra's Needle to England (Wikipedia).
Circulating library book plate on front paste down, lacks the ad pages at the rear, some staining and foxing to pages, edges rubbed, previous owner's name struck through on title, some age toning else a better than good copy.