Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1871. xvi,,517pp. plus twenty-one lithographic plates (views of the region and natural history subjects) and colored folding map. Original green cloth, spine gilt. Some slight spotting on binding. Hinges a bit weak but holding. Occasional light foxing on text leaves. Still a very good copy, with neat bookplate of George Bennett (see below) and of noted collector Kenneth Hill. Item #WRCAM46987
A rare account of an exploration of the Strait of Magellan. Cunningham was appointed naturalist aboard the Nassau, a steamer sent to survey the Strait and the adjacent channels. This book contains a narrative of the voyage and natural history descriptions. Cunningham's own interest was in the ornithology of the region (after the voyage he published various pieces in the IBIS on the subject), but he also discusses the botany of the area, mentioning his collections of plants in the Royal Herbarium, Kew, and promising articles on the reptiles, amphibia, fishes, mollusca, and crustacea in LINNEAN TRANSACTIONS. His natural history connections were evidently impeccable, since he acknowledges the help of Hooker, Huxley, Newton, Flower, Sclater, Salvin, Gray, Gunther, and Baird. The folding map shows Patagonia, with an inset of the Strait of Magellan. Though the present copy bears the bookplate of noted collector Kenneth Hill, there is no copy listed in the catalogue of the Hill Collection of Pacific Voyages at the University of California at San Diego. This copy also bears the bookplate of George Bennett, M.D., a Sydney doctor and leading figure in colonial science, closely involved with many of the newly established societies such as the Australian Museum, the Acclimatization Society, and the Zoological Society. He corresponded with some of the prominent natural history figures of the day such as Richard Owe, and was John Gould's agent in Sydney. He was himself the author of two excellent travel books (WANDERINGS IN NEW SOUTH WALES  and GATHERINGS OF A NATURALIST IN AUSTRALIA ).