First edition 1818. Full title reads: Narrative of a Journey in the Interior of China, and of a Voyage To and From That Country, in the Years 1816 and 1817; containing an account of the most interesting transactions of Lord Amherst's embassy to the court of Pekin, and observations on the countries which it visited. Original purple cloth hard covers with gilt title on the spine. Uneven sunning on the front board at the top and spine edges, and on the rear board mostly near the spine edge with less at the top. Rear board has several surface marks. Both boards worn at the corners. Spine is sunned and discoloured with chipping at the base and more extensively at the top; small piece of the surface cloth missing about two-thirds of the way down; the cloth of the front hinge is split at the top for 7cm and at the base for 4cm. Internally the front hinge is cracked at the pastedown exposing the webbing, also cracks at p 2/3, 6/7 (pages 3-6 are loose but still attached), p418/419 and partial cracks at the rear pastedown - 6cm at the top and 4 cm at the base. Occasional foxing through the text block particularly on the reverse of some of the plates. Many engraving illustrations in the text, eight (hand coloured?) colour plates, ten plain/sepia engraved plates, four maps three of which are pull-out. Errata leaf present pasted opposite the Preface. Corrections from the Errata sheet have been neatly entered into the text. This is the first edition of one of the main accounts of the period, during which a large number of plants were both discussed and collected. Clarke Abel was a British surgeon and naturalist who accompanied Lord Amherst on his mission to China as the embassy's chief medical officer and naturalist, on the recommendation of Sir Joseph Banks. The mission was Britain's second unsuccessful attempt to establish diplomatic relations with China and involved travelling to the capital Pekin (Beijing) and the famous botanical gardens of Fa Tee near Canton. While in China, Abel collected specimens and seeds of the plant that carries his name, Abelia chinensis. However a shipwreck and an attack by pirates on the way back to his home in Britain caused him to lose all of his specimens. The book gives a detailed account of the collection's misfortunes. Fortunately, he had left some specimens with Sir George Staunton at Canton, who was kind enough to return them to him. Abel was the first Western scientist to report the presence of the orangutan on the island of Sumatra; the Sumatran Orangutan Pongo abelii is named for him. He went on to become the surgeon-in-chief to Lord Amherst when the earl was appointed Governor-general of India. Abel was also the first scientist to describe the Chiru or Tibetan Antelope, in 1826. Very scarce book.