A Jesuit at Istanbul
Journal d'un voyage de Constantinople en Pologne,
fait a la suite de Son Excellence Mr Jaq. Porter, Ambassadeur d'Angleterre... en MDCCLXXII. Lausanne Francois Grasset et Comp. 1772
First edition. 12mo (16.5 x 10 cm), pp.viii, 323 [1, blank]. A very good copy bound in contemporary speckled sheep, spine with raised bands, gilt compartments, morocco label. Corners worn and joints slightly rubbed, but a handsome copy. With morocco book label of G.J. Arvanitidi, and his stamp to p.9.
Atabey 137, Koc 141. Not Blackmer or Weber. Sommervogel I 1844 records a ghost 1772 Italian edition.
Ruggiero Boscovich (1711-1787), an Italian-Croatian Jesuit polymath, travelled to Constantinople in 1761 with the Venetian ambassador Pierre Correro, to observe the transit of Venus. After failing to observe the transit, Boscovich accompanied Sir James Porter, British ambassador to Constantinople from 1746 to 1762, on his return to England via Poland. The outbreak of war between Austria and the Ottoman Empire had rendered other routes impassable. The text is a travel diary, covering the entirety of Boscovich's journey from 25 May to 15 July 1752, and describing in detail the small villages and towns he visited; a snapshot of the Ottoman Balkans and their varied inhabitants in the middle of the 18th-century. From Ragusan merchants to Greek princes, and the quality of eau de vie in Bulgar villages, Boscovich notes down details with a scientist's detached skill. The account of the mihmandar, the Ottoman official assigned to act as a guide-cum-minder for diplomatic travellers within the empire, is a particularly rich one. The original Italian manuscript was translated into French by Pierre Henin (1728-1807), a friend of Boscovich's stationed at the French embassy in Warsaw. A German edition was published in 1779, but the original Italian text was only published in 1784.