London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley... 1831. Two volumes bound in one. xxi,,392pp. plus fourteen plates and three maps (two folding); vii,,-742pp. plus nine plates. No errata slip in second volume. Half titles. Quarto. 19th-century polished calf boards with gilt tooled border, handsomely rebacked, spine elaborately gilt, gilt morocco label. Minor shelf wear, corners bumped. Armorial bookplate of Sir William Curtis, 2nd or 3rd Baronet of Cullands Grove on front pastedown. Foxing and toning to plates, occasional foxing to text. Very good. Item #WRCAM54907
A handsome copy of the coveted "Admiralty" edition of Beechey's NARRATIVE, printed on large paper. This copy has an autograph note signed by Beechey tipped in, asking his publisher to send a copy of the book to the explorer, Alexander Simpson. Beechey's expedition went to Bering Strait and beyond to meet and assist the Franklin and Parry parties, whom Beechey expected to arrive from the East. The expedition was based at Kotzebue Sound. Franklin's team arrived within fifty leagues of Beechey's encampment, but was forced by weather to return. This work is "one of the most valuable of modern voyages" (Hill), and incorporates accounts of visits to Pitcairn Island, Tahiti, Alaska, Hawaii, Macao, Okinawa, and the coast of California. On Pitcairn Island, Beechey met John Adams, the last survivor of the Bounty mutiny. Beechey gives an important account of Monterey and San Francisco before the American conquest, with much on the missionaries in California. Considerable botanical information gathered during the voyage was separately published by W.J. Hooker. The narrative of the trip provides a background to where and when the plants were collected. The maps are a chart of the Pacific showing the route of Beechey's ship, and a map of the northwest coast of Alaska. Contains a "Vocabulary of Words of the Western Esquimaux." The collation given in Streeter calls for only seven plates in the second part, due to his counting the three fossil plates as one, but there are actually three fossil plates (see the note in Lada-Mocarski). This copy is of particular interest for a neat single-page autograph note, signed by Beechey, tipped-in on the front flyleaf. In this note to his publisher, Richard Bentley, Beechey asks Bentley to send along a copy of this very title to fellow author and explorer, Alexander Simpson. Beechey writes: "My Dear Sir, I enclose a note for Mr. Alexr. Simpson for whom you have lately published a small book and beg you to be so good as to send it to him with a copy of my Polar Voyages which I beg to present to him...." The small book by Simpson recently published by Bentley was THE LIFE AND TRAVELS OF THOMAS SIMPSON, THE ARCTIC DISCOVERER (London: Bentley, 1845), a well-received biographical treatment of the author's brother, who led expeditions for the Hudson's Bay Company. Alexander Simpson was a fur trader who also worked for the Hudson's Bay Company and he eventually served as British consul stationed at the Sandwich Islands. His account of his time in Hawaii, THE SANDWICH ISLANDS: PROGRESS OF EVENTS SINCE THEIR DISCOVERY BY CAPTAIN COOK..., is now a foundational work on early Western interaction with the Hawaiian islands. A handsome copy of Beechey's important exploration narrative, with a warm letter regarding another notable author and explorer. HILL 93. SMITH 704. PILLING, PROOF-SHEETS 328. LADA-MOCARSKI 95. WICKERSHAM 6541. ZAMORANO 80, 4. STREETER SALE 3517. TPL 1476. TAXONOMIC LITERATURE I, p.164. SABIN 4347. COWAN, p.42. ROCQ 5621. HOWES B309, "b." FORBES 772. REESE, BEST OF THE WEST 57.