AN ACCOUNT OF THE PELEW ISLANDS, SITUATED IN THE WESTERN PART OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN. COMPOSED FROM THE JOURNALS AND COMMUNICATIONS OF CAPTAIN HENRY WILSON, AND SOME OF HIS OFFICERS, WHO, IN AUGUST 1783, WERE THERE SHIPWRECKED, IN THE ANTELOPE, A PACKET BELONGING TO THE HON. EAST INDIA COMPANY.

Philadelphia: Printed by Joseph Crukshank, 1789. xx,256pp. 12mo. Contemporary calf, spine with gilt bands, burgundy morocco gilt label. Scuffs, wear and spotting to boards, corners bumped, foot of spine scuffed, two holes from insect activity. Lacks front and rear free endpapers. Contemporary inscription on titlepage of "Susanna Ridgway." Small closed tear to in foredge of pp.123-24 (no loss to text). Worming in lower margin of pp.143-256 (no text affected), occasional foxing. Good. Item #WRCAM55275

First American edition, following two London editions of 1788. In 1783, The ANTELOPE, commanded by Captain Henry Wilson (1740-1810), wrecked off Ulong (Oroolong) Island, of the Palau (Pelew) Islands, on its return from Macau. The entire crew made it ashore and were eventually found by Palauans from other islands, Ulong being relatively uninhabited. This was the first sustained European contact with Palau. With the help of the Palauans, the crew was eventually able to construct a ship from the remains of the ANTELOPE and new materials. They named the new vessel OROOLONG, returned to Macau, and sailed for England from there. "They took Prince Lee Boo, one of King Abba Thulle's sons, with them to England, where he made a very good impression. Unhappily, in spite of all precautions, he soon died of smallpox" - Hill. George Keate (1729-97), a popular poet and writer, was friends with Wilson and composed an account of the trip based on the journals and correspondence of Wilson and his officers. First published in London in 1788, the ACCOUNT became very popular, appearing in more than twenty English editions and nearly as many foreign-language editions between 1789 and 1850. Like the first English edition, this edition includes "A Vocabulary of the Pelew Language." EVANS 21909. HILL 911. ESTC W23208.

Price: $850.00

The Rare First American Edition