Letters on Paraguay: comprising an account of a four years’ residence in that republic, under the government of the dictator Francia . . . Second edition.

London, John Murray, 1839.

3 vols, 8vo (200 x 125 mm), pp. xxvii, 359, [1]; x, 344; xvi, 400, with two frontispieces (slightly offset onto titles) and a folding map (hand-coloured in outline); original purple cloth; minor wear, spines faded.

£220

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US $293€249

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First published in two volumes in 1838. The present edition is a reissue of these two volumes with an additional volume entitled Francia’s reign of terror, being the continuation of Letters on Paraguay. ‘In December 1806 [John] Robertson, aged fourteen, sailed from Greenock for the River Plate to make his fortune. On arrival he found Buenos Aires recaptured by the Spanish but Montevideo about to be taken by British forces under General Auchmuty, on 3 February 1807. He witnessed the occupation, later boasting of acting as a “powder monkey”, distributing cartridges to British troops. The British victory allowed Robertson to land and to begin trading. Sent home when Montevideo was retaken by the Spanish, Robertson returned to South America in 1808 to work as a clerk in Rio de Janeiro. He then went to Buenos Aires, where he remained for two years before moving on to Paraguay, reaching Asunción in 1812, where he opened trade with Buenos Aires. Save for a deserter from the British army, called Pedro Campbell, he reckoned himself the first Englishman to visit this isolated and unexploited country. He was joined by his brother and lifelong business associate William Parish Robertson (d. 1864), in 1814, and both became well known to Paraguay’s notorious and eccentric tyrant, Dr José G. R. de Francia . . . . [John] Robertson’s writings included numerous articles and papers, but he is best remembered for Letters on Paraguay’ (Oxford DNB).

Naylor 144; Palau 270913; Sabin 71964.


T1858

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