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CHAPPE D'AUTEROCHE, l'Abbe Jean (1722-1769). Voyage en Siberie, fait par ordre du roi en 1761; contenant les moeurs, les usages des Russes, et l'etat actuel de cette puissance; la description geographique & le nivellement de la route de Paris a Tobolsk; l'histoire naturelle de la meme route; des observations astronomiques, & des expe?riences sur l'electricite naturelle: enrichi de cartes geographiques, de plans, de profils du terrein; de gravures qui representent les usages des Russes, leurs moeurs, leurs habillements, les divinite?s des Calmouks, & plusieurs morceaux d'histoire naturelle. Par M. l'abbe' Chappe d'Auteroche[A Journey into Siberia, made by order of the King of France... containing an Account of the Manners and Customs of the Russians, the Present State of Their Empire: with the Natural History, and Geographical Description of Their Country, the Level of the Road from Paris to Tobolsky] [With] Contenant la Description du Kamtchatka ... Par M. Kracheninnikov. [The History of Kamtschatka, and the Kurilski Islands, with the countries adjacent].
Paris: Debure, 1768. First Edition. Text: 2 vols. in 3 (Small Folio) & Elephant Folio Atlas. [iv], xxx, [ii], 347; [iv], 347-777; xvi, 627, [i], [ii], [ii]. Engraved frontispiece, 3 engraved maps, 53 engraved plates, some folding, 1 engraved table, and engraved title vignettes, after Moreau le Jeune and Le Prince; atlas volume with engraved frontispiece index and 30 engraved maps, many folding, some hand-coloured in outline. The text volume in period brown elaborately gilt tooled mottled full calf with maroon gilt morocco labels and atlas in period green gilt titled full vellum. Atlas with some mild foxing, otherwise a very good set in very original condition.
This work has "splendid and accurate engravings and.., [gives a] powerful description of manners and character" (Cox I p.352). "This work deserves attention for its attractive and accurate engravings, and for its forthright and sometimes provocative descriptions of Russian manners and character. Certain of these descriptions inspired the publication of an indignant rebuttal, sometimes attributed to Catherine the Great. Chappe d'Auteroche was a French priest and astronomer, who travelled to Siberia to observe the transit of Venus in 1761. The present work includes meteorological observations, descriptions of the climate, animals, birds, and insects, notes on the iron ore, copper, and gold mines, etc. Chappe d'Auteroche's translation of Stepan Petrovich Krasheninnikov's description of Kamchatka from the first Russian edition of 1755.., His translation of Krasheninnikov's Kamchatka contains considerable material on Alaska and the northwest coast of America" (Hill 277).
"In 1761, by the order of the king of France, and by arrangement with Catherine II, he undertook an expedition into Siberia to observe the transit of Venus. From Paris he reached St. Petersburg, then sledged to Tobolsk, where in June 1761 the transit was duly observed. The expedition carried out a large number of scientific measurements en route, and reported on the geography of the region and the customs of its inhabitants" (Howgego C101).