Voyage fait par ordre de L'Impératrice de Russie Catherine II, dans le nord de la Russie Asiatique, dans la Mer Glaciale, dans la mer d'Anadyr, et sur les Côtes de L'Amérique, depuis 1785 jusq'wn 1794, Par le Commodore Billings

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Author: Martin Sauer (1785-1806)

Year: 1821

Publisher: Chez F Buisson

Place: Paris


2 volumes with Atlas. [4]+xxiv+385 pages with xxii-xxiv lists books of voyages available from the publisher; [4]+418 pages with appendix containing vocabularies of the languages of Yukagir, Yakut, Tungoose, Kamchatka, the Aleutian Islands and Kadiak and inex. Atlas with title, list of plates, 14 engraved plates & large folding engraved map. Text volumes are small octavo (7¾" x 4½"), 19th century quarter calf & boards, spines tooled in gilt, morocco lettering pieces; atlas is quarto (11" x 7½") in period tree calf, spine tooled in gilt. Translated by J Castéra. (Howes S-117) First French Edition.

Martin Sauer was an English civil servant who knew Russian, French and German. He became acquainted with Joseph Billings in St Petersburg in the 1780s. He agreed to join Billings expedition as his secretary and interpreter. It was agreed that he would write the official account, but there is some controversy about his actives when he returned to St Petersburg in 1794. It has been suggested that he left hurriedly for England with much of the important archival material from the voyage, including diaries and secret reports, so that he could publish a record of the expedition before Russian authorities and scholars in the Academy of Sciences could review its details. Sauer's An account of the Geographical and Astronomical Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia was published in London in 1802. It contains an abundance of detail about eastern Siberia and the Aleutian Islands, and records the expeditions visits to Kodiak Island, Prince William Sound and the coast south as far as Yakutat Bay.

The chart was made by Aaron Arrowsmith from Sauer's notes and Billings observations, and the whole complements well the other contemporary accounts of the expedition by the cartographer Gavriil Sarychev and the naturalist Carl Heinrich Merck. Aaron Arrowsmith (1750–1823) was an English cartographer, engraver and publisher and founding member of the Arrowsmith family of geographers. He moved to Soho Square, London from Winston, County Durham when about twenty years of age, and was employed by John Cary, the engraver and William Faden. He became Hydrographer to the Prince of Wales ca. 1810 and subsequently to the King in 1820. In January 1790 he made himself famous by his large chart of the world on Mercator projection. Four years later he published another large map of the world on the globular projection, with a companion volume of explanation.


Some rubbing and wear to coves of both atlas and text volumes, some chipping to spine ends, small gouge at back of atlas and stamp to front end paper else in very good condition.

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