Sussex Saleroom: 14th July 2020
MORRISON, Robert (1782-1834). Vocabulary of the Canton Dialect. Macao: Printed at the Honorable[sic] East India Company's Press, by G. J. Steyn, and Brother, 1828. Parts I-II bound in one [only, lacking part III: "Chinese Words and Phrases", as often], 8vo in 4s (224 x 140mm). (Some spotting to title, "Powers of the Letters" leaf detached and frayed without loss, some leaves torn at upper margin, without loss, very lightly browned throughout, occasional light spotting and staining). Contemporary half calf and marbled boards, spine decorated in gilt (upper cover detached with first few leaves attached, signs of label having been removed from lower cover, rubbed and scuffed). Provenance: later pencil inscription on front free endpaper. FIRST EDITION of the first western attempt to compile a glossary for a dialect at a time when the opium trade was at its height. RARE. "This Vocabulary was undertaken, in the hope that the language could be communicated to Europeans without the Chinese Character ..." (from the Introduction). RARE.