First Edition of the Narrative of the First Crossing of the English Channel by Balloon, By the First American to "Fly"
BLANCHARD, Jean Pierre. JEFFRIES, John. Narrative of the Two Aerial Voyages of Doctor Jeffries with Mons. Blanchard; with meteorological observations and remarks. The first voyage, on the thirtieth of November, 1784, from London into Kent: the second, on the seventh of January, 1785, from England into France. By Doctor Jeffries. Presented to the Royal Society, April 14, 1785; and read before them, January, 1786. London: Printed for the author, sold by J. Robson , 1786.
First edition of the narrative of the first crossing of the English Channel by Balloon, by the first American to “fly". Small quarto (10 7/8 x 8 3/4 inches; 276 x 220 mm). [2], 60 pp. With frontispiece portrait of Jeffries and one engraved plate. With a general title and separate half-titles for each voyage.

Newer quarter brown calf over marbled paper boards. Spine ruled in gilt, with red morocco spine label, lettered in gilt. Newer endpapers. All edges uncut. Portrait with some minor edge repair, not affecting engraving. Housed in a cloth clamshell. Clamshell with brown morocco spine lettered in gilt. Overall a very good copy.

"The first flight by a physician, the first crossing of the English channel by balloon, and the first international flight" (Garrison-Morton).

“Jeffries, John [born in Boston in 1745 was a] physician, surgeon, and the first American to fly...Jeffries also pursued amateur scientific interests. On 15 September 1784 he attended a balloon ascension made by Vincenzo Lunardi, secretary to the Neapolitan ambassador, from the artillery ground at Moorfields. A month later he witnessed a flight by the French aeronaut Jean-Pierre-François Blanchard. Determined to make a flight himself, Jeffries approached Blanchard and offered to fund an ascent on which he would fly as a passenger. The two men ascended from the London Rhedarium on 30 November 1784. His appetite whetted, Jeffries now offered to fund Blanchard’s plan for the first aerial voyage across the English Channel. The pair launched from Dover at 1:07 P.M. on 7 January 1785. They returned safely to earth near Ardres, France, almost three hours later, having been forced to jettison all excess weight, including most of their clothing, in an effort to keep the balloon aloft. Blanchard and Jeffries became instant celebrities...The relationship between Jeffries and Blanchard could not stand the strain of success. Blanchard charged that Jeffries had attempted to steal the credit for their achievement and remarked that the doctor’s account of their flights, A Narrative of Two Aerial Voyages (1786), was ‘filled with lies.’ After an interview with Blanchard, one London newspaper reported that ‘the Doctor was incapable of making any [scientific observations], which his companion ascribes to his ignorance, to his being petrified with fear, and to his frequent recourse to the brandy bottle during the voyage’ (Loyd’s Evening Post, 28–30 June 1786). When Blanchard repeated his charges during a visit to Philadelphia in 1793, Jeffries sued his old companion for libel and won.” (American National Biography).

“Jeffries’s flights can also be considered the beginning of the weather balloon as meteorological observations characterized the experiments. Jeffries was a keen meteorologist as well as a physician and surgeon” (Norman, History of Science). ESTC T10668 Garrision-Morton 2137.2; Norman 1159.

HBS # 68514 $6,000