Andreas Everardus van Braam Houckgeest
Andreas Everardus van Braam Houckgeest, Voyage de l'Ambassade de la Compagnie des Indes Orientales Hollandaises, vers l'Empereur de la Chine. Philadelphia, 1797.
Andreas Everardus van Braam Houckgeest (1739-1801) served as vice envoy on a mission sent by the Dutch East India Company in 1794 to congratulate the emperor of China on his 60th year of government. Inspired by the American Revolution,Van Braam gave up his Dutch nationality and became an American citizen in 1784, and thus is claimed to be the first American to visit China.
The first volume opens with a dedication to George Washington. The original manuscript was written in Dutch and translated into French and edited by Moreau de Saint-Méry, an emigré bookseller based for a few years in Philadephia before being recalled to France by Napoleon. The plates were executed by American engravers. The present copy is a first edition and is scarce not least because the French intercepted and destroyed a shipment of 500 copies of the first volume in late 1797.