St. Petersburg: Tip. E. Veimara, 1859. Item #23
148 pp. Small 8vo. With a large folding lithographed map. Contemporary Russian quarter leather binding with marbled paper boards and blind stamped title on the spine. Owners’ ink and pencil notes on the first free endpaper dated 1860 and 1910; owner’s ink inscription dated 1951 on the title page. Binding slightly rubbed, light foxing of the text, Soviet bookshops’ stamps on the rear pastedown, overall a very good copy.
First edition. Very rare. Early anonymous account of the history of the Russian exploration
and settlement on the Amur River, printed just one year after the vast
territories north of the Amur River had been transferred from China to
Russia as a result of the Aigun Treaty (1858). The book is dedicated to
count Nikolai Muravyev-Amursky (1809-1881), governor general of
Eastern Siberia who actively promoted Russian expansion to the lower
reaches of the Amur and signed the treaty from the Russian side. The
account starts with the description of the course of the Amur River based
on several Russian travel accounts of the 1850s and is followed by a
lengthy narration of the exploration of the Amur River by Russian Cossacks
in the 17th century, the foundation of Albazin – first Russian settlement on
the river (1651), Sino-Russian border conflicts of the 1650-1680s, and the
signing of the Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689) which forced the Russians to
leave the lands north of the Amur River to China.
The lithographed map at rear delineates the course of the Amur
River from its beginning as the confluence of the Shilka and Argun Rivers
to its influx into the Strait of Tartary, marking four Russian settlements –
Albazin, Blagoveshchensk, Mariinsk, and Nikolaevsk. The map also
indicates the areas of settlements of native people inhabiting the Amur
River region and is decorated with portraits of four their representatives: an Oroqen, a Manegri, a Gold, and a Nivkh (Gilyak). Our copy bears with an interesting owners’ inscriptions, indicating its belonging to an early Russian settler of the Far East: “Khabarovka, 26th day of June 1860” (“Khabarovka” was the name of Khabarovsk city before 1893); “[A book of] Vladimir and Vasily Borislavsky’s. 10 October 1892. Father A. Borislavsky;” “To the museum of Leib Guard Finland Regiment from Podporutchik Vasily Alexandrovich Borislavsky. 5 February 1910.” Only one paper copy found in Worldcat (Stanford University).