Universal Signals Simply and Intelligibly Displayed; in Symbols of Black and White ... with Geographical Notes of Reference, as connected with Ships, Colonies and Commerce
Folding frontispiece and plate illustrating signals and numerical correspondence. 4, , , [blank], , , , , [10
by Ekins, Charles
London: Thomas Curson Hansard, 1838. First proof. Folding frontispiece and plate illustrating signals and numerical correspondence. 4, , , [blank], , , , , , , , , , , , , , [blank] pp. 8vo. Contemporary blue pebble-grain cloth with a 12 line sample of Ekin's hand laid down on the upper board, book plates to front paste down and verso of folding plate, inner hinges a little weak, some minor marginal damp staining. First proof. Folding frontispiece and plate illustrating signals and numerical correspondence. 4, , , [blank], , , , , , , , , , , , , , [blank] pp. 8vo. SIGNALS FOR PACIFIC COLONIES: SIR WILLIAM PARKER'S PROOF COPY. The expansion of the British Empire introduce a whole raft of new names into the Navy's vocabulary. Ekin's system looks to address this and so in addition to standard sailing terms, this system includes simple signals for colonies in Australia (Botany Bay [illustrated on the plate], Port Adelaide, Adventure Bay, Christmas Island, Swan River); New Zealand (Bay of Plenty, Admiralty Sound, Corararicka Harbour, Cook's Strait, Wangeroa, Cape York); Vanikoro (Mannicolo or La Perouse's Island), Raiata Island, Roratonga Island, Simpson's Island ("Natives are savages"), Solomon Islands, Singapore, Hawaii (Whoohoo, Whymea Bay) and many others.Further, there are many notes giving detail specific to each place. Among the most extensive are the notes on Adelaide and its port. Ekins quotes from private letters from the early settlers Thomas Gilbert and John Barton Hack. Similarly, there is an extract of a 1837 letter from Western Australian Governor James Stirling to Lord Glenelg regarding the whaling industry: "extraordinary quantities of whales, seals, sharks, turtles ... and that the valuable coral and pearl oyster are also found"Under the letter "q", there is a long list of questions demonstrating some of the concerns of the English navy: "Can you supply me with any provisions?", "Is the colony you have just left healthy?", "What news of the Russians?", "Are [the settlers] molested by the natives?", "Does the colonial press flourish?", (incredibly:) "Do you know anything of the South Australian Protestant community?" and "Have you any Otaheite papers?" There is also a separate section of questions specifically for whalers.This work is likely a development of the system provided in Ekin's previous work, Naval and universal signals, in symbols of black and white ... (London, 1837). Ekins's system used signals to create a locus of 600 possibilities, each of which would change according to one of ten pendants. The lexicon of numbered meanings is appended to the explanatory text. The bulk of the work is comprised of the vocabulary, demonstrating the ever expanding scale of the British Empire. Parker was a Royal Navy officer who served on The Glorious First of June. His career culminated in his brief promotion to First Naval Lord in Russell's ministry and so could comment on Ekins system with some authority. The folding frontispiece plate receives the brunt of Parker's attention. He has crossed out the information at the head of the chart with the simple comment "unnecessary". Perhaps more alarming is his note at the foot of it, "The numbers have no Arithmetical character", which must mark a low point for any numeral. Parker has made other deletions, corrections and suggestions in the book. OCLC locates just a single copy of this work at the NMM. This must have been a duplicate as it bears not just the NMM's bookplate but accession and deaccession stamps. In fact, it is about ten pages shorter than the copy retained by the NMM. The presentation inscription gives some clue: "A Specimen of [Universal Signals] for Sir William Parker Bart G.C.B. &c, &c. No. One. To be read first." What we have here is an early proof, printed in part for Parker's consideration and comments. Ekins has printed the vocabulary for just ten letters here.The final work was never published.
(Inventory #: 303145)
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