Maggs Bros Ltd

Des Climats en General, et plus particulierement des climats chauds...

BARBE Jean-Francois (1837.)

£3500.00  [First Edition]

Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.

First edition. 4to. Original printed wrappers, chipped, presentation inscription to upper wrapper, a little foxed throughout & some very minor dampstaining not affecting the text. 64pp. Paris, Rignoux & Cie, 27 May,

A rare copy of Barbe's thesis presented to (and defended before) the Faculte de medecine de Paris. The work is enhanced in being presented to Francois Arago - mathematician, astronomer and, briefly, 25th Prime Minister of France. (brother of the explorer Jacques). The presentation inscription reads: "Offert a Monsieur Arago secretaire perpetuel de l'Academie. Barbe"

Although the French colonial empire began as early as 1605 with the foundation of Port Royal in what is now Nova Scotia, the end of the Napoleonic Wars signalled a second colonial era with possessions in the West Indies, North and West Africa. Drawing on data collected in Saint-Domingue, Cuba and Louisiana, Barbe notes the commerical imperatives that drive the primarily coastal habitation of land in the tropics. He remarks that the combination of heat, humidity and decaying vegetation makes for a particularly unhealthy climate in these places.

The work is divided into two parts - the first being a discussion of tropical climates with information drawn from recently returned voyages by the likes of Duppery, Dumont d'Urville, Ross and Parry. The text also makes repeated references to the Prussian explorer, Alexander von Humbolt, who was close friend of Arago's. And, indeed, mentions Arago's brother Jacques, who was the artist on Freycinet's 1817 circumnavigation.

In the second part, Barbe goes on to discuss diseases that are suffered by indigenous populations, especially the matlazahuath, a disease similar to yellow fever which doesn't effect caucasians. In discussing those diseases which do affect Europeans, he suggests that the symptoms of intermittent and remittent fever are among the most important and difficult to understand across the spectrum of these tropical diseases, referring to yellow fever, the plague and cholera, which he compares broadly to typhus, and differentiates from scruvy, dyssentry and smallpox. Barbe then discusses the importance of acclimitisation, citing M. Rochoux in particular. Furtermore, the work includes statistics on mortality of Europeans living in Bombay, Batavia and Guadeloupe.

OCLC lists seven copies, none in North America.

Stock Code: 213364