(Gand [i.e., Ghent]: Vander Schelden, 1848). 194 x 117 mm. (7 5/8 x 4 5/8"). 2 p.l., ix, [iii], -389,  pp. First Edition in French.
ORIGINAL YELLOW PRINTED PAPER WRAPPERS, UNOPENED. In a modern (slightly soiled and worn) custom-made gilt-titled folding cloth box. With illustrated title page, three folding maps, and 15 plates depicting life among the Indian tribes, as called for. Wagner-Camp 141:2; Howes D-286; Graff 3827; Sabin 82265. Wrappers a little browned and a bit wrinkled at edges, a couple of tiny chips to tail of spine, isolated mild foxing, a couple of tiny marginal tears, but, by and large, A VERY FINE COPY OF AN EXTREMELY FRAGILE ITEM, obviously never having been read.
Belgian-born Jesuit priest Pierre-Jean De Smet (1801-73) wrote this work, which was published in French, English, and Flemish, to raise funds for his missionary work among the Indians of the Pacific Northwest. De Smet came to America in 1821 as a novitiate in the Society of Jesus, and was soon sent to the mission at Florissant, Missouri, near St. Louis. The Jesuits founded several schools there, and it was at one of these that De Smet first met boys from American Indian tribes and began to learn about the languages and culture. He was sent further west when a deputation of Nez Perce and Flathead Indians came to St. Louis to request a visit from a "Black-robe," as they called the dark-cassocked Jesuits. De Smet travelled through the Rocky Mountains and the Northwest, establishing missions and schools. In this work, he gives an account of his journeys in the years 1845-46, when he travelled extensively in the Columbia and Willamette Valleys. De Smet was greatly trusted and admired by the Indian tribes he encountered, and was able to act as a go-between during negotiations, both between hostile tribes and with the federal government. One of his great achievements was winning Sitting Bull's acquiescence to the Treaty of Fort Laramie. According to ANB, "Among Native Americans, De Smet was a trusted friend and in some cases an adopted relative. He saw himself as an advocate for Indians and was critical of their treatment by the government, pointing out white American 'provocations and injustice.' De Smet wrote, 'If our Indians become enraged against the whites, it is because the whites have made them suffer for a long time.'" (ST12094)
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PJP Catalog: SE16BF.036