Map of the East Indies; the official trade zon...
Map of the East Indies; the official trade zone (octrooigebied) of the VOC according to the VOC Charter, which was between Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) and Street Magallan (South America); printed c. 1700.

“All mankind have a certain Natural propensity to Curiosity, but Young people have commonly a greater Inclination to satisfy their own Fancies,taken up for the most part with Novelties, than those who are arrived to a ripe Age, For my part having always been inflamed with a most ardent desire of  Travelling, after I had finished the course of my Studies, I left Paris with no other resolution than to leave France and by the Conversation with Foreigners to make my self acquainted with their Genius and Manners” p1

And so begins Dellon’s journey, In his retelling of the voyage, is is easy to see he is exercising his medical training and highly developed skills of observation. His curiosity hardly has a limit and he is also quite discerning.   He notes that “a great many Distempers are contracted (by the natives of Madagascar) by the Commerce of foreigners” p14.

Like the CIA World fact Book  ‎Dellon carefully profiles of countries and territories he travels through giving the reader information on history of contact with Europeans, descriptions and lore relating to animal species,natural resources and  geography, people, government, transportation,architecture, economy. He even discusses ‘traffic’!  This book is part travel log, part economic survey part ethnography and also a discourse on tropical medicine.

DSC_0001336G         Dellon, Gabriel.           b. 1649

A voyage to the East-Indies: giving an account of the Isles of Madagascar, and Mascareigne, of Suratte, the coast of Malabar, of Goa, Gameron, Ormus, and the coast of Brasil, with the religion, manners and customs of the inhabitants, &c. as also a treatise, of the distempers peculiar to the Eastern countries. By Monsieur Dellon, M.D. To which is annexed a supplement taken out of Monsieur de Rennefort’s History of the East-Indies, having a near relation to the proceeding treatise. Translated from the French.

[Part II. A treatise of the distempers relating in particular to the eastern countries”, each have separate dated title page; pagination and register are continuous. “A supplement to the Sieur Dellone’s relation of his voyage to the East-Indies” has separate dated title page and pagination; register is continuous.]

London : printed for D. Browne, at the Black-Swan without Temple-Bar; A. Roper, at the Black-Boy; and T. Leigh, at the Peacock, both in Fleet-Street, 1698.                  $3,500

Quarto,  First English edition. A⁸ b⁴ c² B-T⁸ U².

This copy is bound in its original contemporary full calf leather boards, sympathetically rebacked in antique style DSC_0002gilt decorated spine , using matching brown calf leather, red & black gilt lettered morocco labels.

Gabriel Dellon (Charles Dellon (a.k.a. Gabriel Dellon/Dillon and Claude Dellon in various books) was a young French traveler and physician  in 1668 when he journeyed by sea with the Compagnie des Indes  to the East Indies DSC_0006via the Cape of Good Hope and Madagascar. He says that he set out on this journey to satisfy a passion for traveling. After arriving in the city of Daman in Goa, which was at the time controlled by the Portuguese, he ran into more than a spot of trouble. Dellon was a thoughtful Catholic who was aware of his religion and took an active, critical stance to religious doctrine. His views were considered suspect by several people with whom he had contact. Unfortunately for Monsieur Dellon, these suspicious people reported their feelings about the French traveler to the Inquisitorial authorities. There also existed rumors that he was having an affair with the wife of  Governor Furtado of Goa, if this wasn’t enough, there are also rumors that he ‘lusted after’ a Priest in Goa.Well,

The word ‘Auto da fé’ reverberated throughout Goa, reminiscent of the furies of Hell. From 8 April 1666, for instance, until the end of 1679 – during which period Dellon was tried – there were eight autos da fé, in which 1208 victims were sentenced.

Wing (2nd ed., 1994), D943A