First edition, Senate issue with the Rare "Bathing" Plate
PERRY, Matthew Calbraith. Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan. Performed in the Years 1852, 1853, and 1854. Washington, D.C.: Nicholson , 1856.
First edition, Senate issue. Three large quarto volumes. (xvii, [1, errata], [1]-537, [1, blank]; [8], [1]-414, [1, note], [1, blank], [16, facsimile treaty], xi, [3]; xliii, [1, blank], 705, [1, blank] pp. Volume I complete with eighty-nine lithographed plates, including three colored facsimiles of Japanese paintings (two folding), and six charts (two folding). This copy includes the suppressed nude bathing plate “Public Bath at Simoda”, which is not included in the list of illustrations. Volume II with four tinted lithographed agricultural plates, twenty-three natural history plates, including six hand-colored ornithological plates, ten hand-colored natural history plates depicting various types of fish found in the seas of Japan, and two hand-colored conchology plates. With sixteen meteorological diagrams, and seventeen maps and charts (on sixteen folded sheets). Volume III with 352 full-page wood-engraved astronomical charts. Numerous wood-engravings in the text.

Volume III has title: United States Japan Expedition. Observations on the Zodiacal Light, from April 2, 1853, to April 22, 1855, Made Chiefly on Board the United States Steam-Frigate Mississippi...with conclusions from the data thus obtained; by Rev. George Jones...

Original publisher's blind-stamped cloth, pictorial gilt spines. Covers and spine ends rubbed, spines faded. Volume I with some spotting and bubbling to cloth on front cover. A few splits to cloth at outer hinges. Volume II with gilt mostly rubbed off to spine. A minor dampstain to bottom edge of text block of Volume III, generally not affecting the charts. Overall, this is a very good copy of a book that usually shows up in poor condition or rebound.

“In March, 1852, Commodore Perry was appointed commander of a naval expedition to be sent to Japan to induce their government to establish diplomatic relations with the United States. Perry felt that the only way to force Japan to cease her isolationist foreign policy would be through exhibiting superior naval forces. After entering Araga Harbor on July 8, 1853, the Japanese were eventually forced to accept a treaty that stipulated better treatment of shipwrecked seamen and permitted American ships to obtain fuel and supplies at two Japanese ports, Hakadate and Shimoda. The most important result, however, was that the visit contributed to the collapse of the feudal regime and to the modernization of Japan” (Hill).

“Although this expedition was not projected nor organized for scientific purposes, the artist William Heine made many valuable zoological collections at various points in the course of the voyage. The birds are described in Volume II...by John Cassin, with six colored illustrations” (McGill/Wood).

Copenhagen/Anker 93. Hill I, pp.230-31. McGill/Wood, p. 517. Nissen, ZBI, 3132. Sabin 30968. HBS # 67865 $2,500