Early Russo-Chinese Relations.
Important Early Overland Travel Account: "No Easy Journey in Those Days" (Cox).
First English edition of this key early travel account of China and Russia, written by a Dutch merchant who traveled to China in the service of Peter the Great.
The maps, engravings, and text in the book speak to Ides's extremely difficult and arduous overland journey and what he encountered along the way. The engravings include a depiction of Tsangyang Gyatso, the sixth Dalai Lama (1683-1706), and a folding plate of the Great Wall of China
Ides traveled across Siberia and into Peking on behalf of Peter the Great in 1692. The main purpose of the trip was to negotiate commercial agreements with the Chinese on Moscow's behalf. Before the Tartars became rulers of China, it was almost impossible for foreigners to find admittance to the Imperial Court. Kang-hi was desirous of preventing Russian encroachments upon his territories and the Czar was anxious to establish regular commerce with China. The expedition added considerable geographical knowledge to the little that was known about Manchuria and China. The descriptions of the people and places seen are vivid.
Cox notes, perhaps an intentional understatement, that "This was no easy journey in those days."
- Harriet Latham, her signature.
- Delightful bookplate of CJ Peacock, which contains the curse
Who folds a leafe downe
ye divel toaste browne
Who makes marke or blotte
ye divel roaste hotte
Who stealeth thisse booke
ye divel shall cooke.