A VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD IN HIS MAJESTY'S SHIP THE DOLPHIN, COMMANDED BY THE HONOURABLE COMMODORE BYRON...By an Officer on Board the Said Ship
by [Clerke, Charles?]
London: J. Newberry, 1767. ,186,[2,publisher's ads]pp. plus three plates (including frontis). Contemporary calf, rebacked, with original gilt spine label. Some wear to extremities. Later bookplate on front pastedown. Hinges repaired, gutters of first handful of leaves repaired, light occasional foxing. Good. One of the most celebrated of all voyages, Byron's adventure on the Dolphin began under a cloud of secrecy designed to conceal the purpose of his voyage from Spain. The entire crew was led to believe their destination was the East Indies, and it was not until the ship had left Rio (where it was refitted) that the true mission was revealed: a voyage of discovery to the South Seas. To avoid mutiny, he granted his men double pay, and with renewed enthusiasm they set course for the Pacific. This account of the Straits of Magellan is one of the best to that time, though its famed map did not appear until the first Spanish edition of 1769. Byron's circumnavigation is noted for its speed, just over twenty-months, and this account for its discussion of the "Patagonian Giants," depicted in two of the plates and discussed in the text. "Byron passed through the Straits without incident. Having reached the Pacific he succeeded in discovering islands and coral reefs, and returned to England without losing one member of his crew, a rare event in those days. This account of the voyage became famous because of its description of Patagonian giants. These giants were first observed by the crew of Magellan's fleet, and other authors refer to them, but as the travellers of the nineteenth century were unable to encounter them, their existence came to be considered a fable or optical illusion. What impresses the reader of Byron's book, however, is the tone of veracity in the description of these very tall men whom the crew observed at close range, and with whom they had some contact" - Borba de Moraes. Borba de Moraes attributes this book to Byron, but he was not the author. Although not proven, some (including Hill) have attributed this work to Charles Clerke, who later served with Cook on all three of his voyages to the Pacific. Scarce. BORBA DE MORAES, pp.138-39. SABIN 9732. HILL 311. PALAU 38229 (another ed).
(Inventory #: WRCAM51153)
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