The past and future of British relations in China.

Edinburgh and London, William Blackwood & Sons, 1860.

Small 8vo, pp. vi, [2], 184, with 2 folding maps, lacking the folding map of China; a remarkably clean copy in red pebble-grained cloth by Edmonds & Remnants of London (binder’s ticket to lower pastedown), boards blind-blocked, spine lettered in gilt with gilt ornaments, brown endpapers, uncut and opened by hand; somewhat bumped at caps and corners, a few faint marks, hinges cracked; ink presentation inscription to half-title, ‘The Viscount Palmerston &c &c, with the author’s respectful compliments ... Aug 30/60’, pastedown signed ‘Palmerston'.


US $1643€1483

Make an enquiry

Added to your basket:
The past and future of British relations in China.

Checkout now

Presentation copy of the first edition of Osborn’s short work on British relations with China, informed by his service with the Royal Navy in China in 1840-42 and 1857-58 and partially drawing on his earlier articles for Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine and the Royal Geographical Society. Published at the end of the Second Opium War (1856-60), the present copy is inscribed to and signed by the then Prime Minister, Viscount Palmerston, who counted among his achievements as Foreign Secretary the opening of China to British trade through the First Opium War some twenty years previously.

‘An intelligent and resourceful officer,’ Captain Sherard Osborn (1822-1875) had ‘a brilliant, if unconventional, career, largely devoted to the projection of power from the sea against the shore’ (ODNB). He rose very quickly in the Navy on his early trips to the Far East, commanding his own ship by the age of seventeen, though his later return met with somewhat less success: after leading six steamers to China in 1863 for the service of the Chinese government, he resigned on hearing that his orders would not be received directly from the imperial government and returned to England.

In addition to three periods in China, he served with distinction in the Black Sea during the Crimean War, being appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath and to the Ottoman Order of the Mejidiye (fourth class) and receiving the cross of the Légion d’honneur. His greatest fame, however, is likely derived from his involvement in the search for Sir John Franklin, commanding the Pioneer in the Arctic expeditions of 1850-51 and 1852-54 and publishing Stray Leaves from an Arctic Journal (1852), The Discovery of a North-West Passage … by Captain M’Clure (1856), and The Career, Last Voyage, and Fate of Captain Sir John Franklin (1860).

You may also be interested in...


Musick’s Monument; or, a Remembrancer of the best Practical Musick, both Divine, and Civil, that has ever been known, to have been in the World ...

First edition of ‘one of the most important and informative source-books for English seventeenth-century instrumental music which we possess’ (Grove, 5th edition). The author was a clerk of Trinity College, Cambridge, and an acknowledged master of the lute. The first part of the book concerns Church Psalms, their poetry and music. The second and longest is the ‘civil Part: or, the Lute made easie’. There are directions for choosing, tuning, repairing, performing on, and composing for the lute, and numerous examples in tablature (pp. 32-230). The final part is devoted to the viol and ‘musick in general’. For a serious treatise Musick’s Monument is written in an unusually informal, personal style that leaves the reader with a striking impression of Mace’s ‘love of his art’, his patience in adversity, and ‘his devout and amiable disposition’ (Grove). At the front are a number of dedicatory epistles in verse, including one ‘by way of answer to some, who seem to dislike my way of rhyming’.

Read more


Lettres de mon Moulin. Impressions et souvenirs.

First edition, rare, of Daudet’s Lettres de mon Moulin. These sketches of Provençal life appeared first in Le Figaro between August 1866 and October 1869, before being published in book form in 1869 and in countless editions from that time on.

Read more