BOSSU, Jean Bernard (1720-1792)
Nouveaux voyages aux Indes occidentales; contenant une Relation des différens Peuples qui habitent les environs du grand fleuve Saint-Louis, appelé vulgairement le Mississipi; leur religion; leur gouvernement; leurs moeurs; leurs guerres et leur commerce
Paris: Le Jay, 1768. 2 volumes, 12mo. Half-titles. Four engraved plates (including frontispieces in each vol.).
Contemporary sprinkled calf, spines with raised bands, ruled on either side of each band, red morocco lettering piece.
Provenance: William McDowall, Castle Semple (armorial bookplate, covered by); Sir Michael Robert Shaw-Stewart, 7th Baronet (armorial bookplate)
Rare first edition of a noted mid-18th century account of the Mississippi Valley.
In this collection of 21 letters, Bossu, a French army officer, tells of his life and travels in the Louisiana country from 1751 to 1762. Going as far north as what is now Illinois and as far east as Mobile, Bossu gives interesting first- and second-hand accounts of life in the Mississippi Valley in the eighteenth century.
"Bossu's writings constitute an important chapter in early Louisiana social history. He describes conditions of travel inland [as far north as Arkansas, Illinois, and the Missouri River country], the outlandish things that could and did happen to a European, his experiences among the Indians, the nature and customs of the country, and the general fauna. This book may be considered a major travel account" (Clark).
Clark Old South II:5; Field 156; Gagnon II:219; Graff 361; Howes B626 ("Bossu was imprisoned and his book banned for awhile in France; this probably accounts for the scarcity of the first edition, of which Sabin found no record"); Rader 408; Sabin 6465 (stating: "I find no record of the first edition"); Streeter sale III:1518.