London, Printed: Philadelphia, Re-printed: J. Crukshank, 1777. ,160pp. Small quarto. Contemporary calf. Hinges neatly reinforced, boards a bit rubbed and shelfworn. Contemporary ownership signatures of Daniel Henderson on front endpapers and titlepage. Light, even tanning; an occasional bit of marginal staining. Very good. Item #WRCAM55366
First American edition of this work, and the first book regarding practical navigation to be printed in the United States. It appeared fully twenty years before any other similar work in America. ESTC locates a total of only seven copies (CSmH, CtY, DLC, MWA, RPJCB, MiU-C, NN). Haselden was a prolific writer of guides for navigators and seamen, best known for his work concerning Mercator's chart and its uses. When the present work first appeared in 1722, he styled himself "Teacher of Mathematics...in the Royal Navy," and he was held in sufficiently high regard to be elected to the Royal Society in 1740, but he died before he could be installed as a Fellow. The present work was not issued in his lifetime, but was first printed by mapmakers Mount & Page in 1757. They kept it regularly in print (six more editions were issued between 1761 and 1775), and it had become a standard work by the time this Philadelphia edition was published, no doubt an attempt to provide a basic work for mariners whose supply of British editions was cut off by the American Revolution. The text covers a wide variety of information needed by sailors, from discerning latitude and longitude to various sailing methods to tips for keeping a journal while at sea. This work's rarity may possibly be accounted for by its having been published in Philadelphia in 1777, when the city was besieged by the British and subsequent destruction. Evans lists this work but could not find a copy to collate, and at the time Rosenbach offered a copy (in his famous catalogue THE SEA in 1938 for $400; in the same catalogue a Hennepin was priced at $65), he could not locate another. Although copies are now known in the major institutions listed above, copies appear in the market infrequently. The last complete copy at auction was the Frank Streeter copy, which sold for $21,600 in 2007. A landmark American first. RINK 3840. EVANS 15360. ESTC W2994. ROSENBACH 19:314. JCB MARITIME HISTORY PRELIMINARY HANDLIST 146. DNB IX, p.106.