London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1819. Second Edition. Quarto, xvi, 420,  pages; VG; bound in contemporary straight-grain morocco, gilt and blind border rolls, rebacked with majority of spine preserved, missing part of head of spine; some rubbing to boards, primarily corners; bookplate to front and rear pastedown; illustrated with 10 black and white lithograph plates, 7 hand colored aquatint plates (including frontispiece), 4 maps (of which 3 are folding); with errata leaf in rear; VG consignment; shelved case 9.
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He accompanied Lord Amherst on his mission to China in 1816-17 as the embassy's chief medical officer and naturalist, on the recommendation of Sir Joseph Banks. The mission was Britain's second unsuccessful attempt to establish diplomatic relations with China and involved travelling to the Beijing and the famous botanical gardens of Fa Tee (Huadi) near Canton (Fangcun District). While in China, Abel collected specimens and seeds of the plant that carries his name, Abelia chinensis, described by Banks' botanical secretary Robert Brown, "with friendly partiality". However a shipwreck and an attack by pirates on the way back to his home in Britain caused him to lose all of his specimens. Abel's Narrative of a Journey in the Interior of China, 1818, gives a detailed account of the collection's misfortunes. However, he had left some specimens with Sir George Staunton at Canton, who was kind enough to return them to him; living specimens of the Chinese Abelia that we know today were introduced by Robert Fortune in 1844. Abel was the first Western scientist to report the presence of the orangutan on the island of Sumatra [wikipedia]