SYMES, Michael (1761-1809)
An Account of an Embassy to the Kingdom of Ava, Sent by the Governor-General of India, in the Year 1795
London: W. Bulmer and Co., 1800. 4to. (11 5/8 x 9 1/4 inches). Half title, xxiv, 504pp. 2 folding engraved maps, 25 engraved plates. Armorial bookplate of Grantham.
Full period tree calf skillfully rebacked, rolled gilt border, spine tooled and lettered in gilt, morocco lettering piece, marbled endpapers, speckled edges.
First edition of the best eighteenth-century account of Burma.
Valued for the first accurate chart of the Irrawaddy River, and one of the most detailed accounts of Burma and the Kingdom of Ava. The first 288 pages provide a valuable historical account of Ava, and the final part of the work includes descriptions and illustrations of rare and curious plants. A major in the British Army in India, where he arrived in 1788, Symes was sent in 1795 on a diplomatic mission to Burma, and achieved success, obtaining from the Emperor of Ava a royal order permitting a British agent to reside in Rangoon to protect the interests of British residents there. The work presents not only an account of the mission, but of Burma itself, its culture, history, etc.
Cordier, Indosinica 445; Howgego S200; Lowndes III, p. 2564; Brunet V:611.