Souvenirs d'un voyage dans la Tartarie, Le Thibet et la Chine, pendant les années 1844, 1845 et 1846HUC, M.
Paris: Librairie d'Adrien le Clere et Cie.. 1850.
First edition. Two volumes. 8vo (210x125mm). pp. vol. I: [iv], 426, folding map of China after the title page; vol. II. [iv], 516. Tan quarter calf, marbled boards. Spine has four raised bands, decorated with simple gilt line. Five compartments, author and title in gilt in second compartment. Wear to edges and to the head of the spines with a little loss. Boards in excellent condition. Contents are fine although with foxing throughout. Very attractive marbled endpapers. Front pastedown of both volumes has the armorial bookplate of Kennet of the Dene. A very nice, tight copy of a vital source for Western understanding of 19th century China.
Huc, whose full name was Fr. Régis Évariste Huc (1813-1860) was a French monk of the Order of Vincentians (also known as Lazarists) and a missionary in China in the 19th Century. He carried out missions and explorations through China , Mongolia (Tartary) and Tibet in 1844 - 1846, which resulted in this book. Huc’s time in the Far East was full of incident and his curious, liberal and enquiring mind gave him access to previously closed worlds. In Tibet, he spent time with Buddhist monks, learning Tibetan and studying Buddhist practice. He also joined the embassy of the Dalai Lama. This tolerance worked both ways as Huc and his colleagues were allowed to practice and preach their Christian faith. He received less understanding from the Chinese and was forced to leave Tibet under an armed escort. In Macau, he wrote his “Souvenirs” but returned to France in 1852 due to ill health. There he was was welcomed by Napoleon III who appointed him Knight of the Légion d’honneur and his adviser on China. It is said that his opinions had a part in encouraging Napoleon to continue the colonization of China.