London: Printed for the Author, 1748. ,417,pp. including binder's directions, plus forty-two handcolored folding engraved plates (including three folding maps and ten folding plans). Large, thick quarto. Original calf, spine ruled in gilt, raised bands, gilt leather label, edges of boards tooled in gilt. Boards shelf worn, corners bumped, front hinge cracked but holding, spine label chipped. Upper outer corner of titlepage clipped, not affecting text. Light scattered foxing, some minor offsetting from plates, else internally clean. A very good copy. Item #WRCAM57583
The first edition, first issue, of the most popular maritime work of its day. This is a "royal paper" copy with large margins and the plates in beautiful contemporary handcoloring. Cox notes two issues of this first edition, asserting that the present issue, "printed for the author," is the first. The narrative, based on Anson's own journal, had an enormous popular success: for the mid-18th-century reader, it was the epitome of adventure, and it was translated into several European languages and stayed in print through numerous editions for many years.
"Anson's voyage of 1740-44 holds a unique and terrible place in British maritime history. The misadventures of this attempt by Royal Navy ships to sail round the world make a dramatic story of hardship, disaster, mutiny and endurance...[When] Anson reached the coast of China in November 1742 he was left with one ship and a handful of men, some of whom had 'turned mad and idiots.' The most extraordinary part of the voyage was still to come, for despite his losses Anson was determined to seize the treasure galleon that made the annual voyage from Acapulco to Manila. Laden with Peruvian silver, she was the 'Prize of all the Oceans.' In June 1743 Anson intercepted the Nuestra Señora de Covadonga, and in a 90-minute action forced her surrender. After refitting at Canton he returned home the next year to find himself compared with Drake, and his exploits with the long-remembered feats of arms against the Spain of Philip II. The casualties were forgotten as the public celebrated a rare triumph in a drab and interminable war..., and in 1748 the long-awaited authorised account appeared under the name of Richard Walter, chaplain on the Centurion, and became a best-seller. Walter's volume has formed the basis of all accounts of Anson’s voyage from the mid-eighteenth century to the present. The book, more fully illustrated than any similar work up to that time, was both a stirring story of adventure at sea and an exhortation to further Pacific enterprise" - Williams.
A clean, complete copy of this classic travel account, here with beautifully handcolored plates and maps. "This compilation has long occupied a distinguished position as a masterpiece of descriptive travel...the most popular book of maritime adventure of the eighteenth century" - Hill. Glyn Williams, THE PRIZE OF ALL THE OCEANS, THE TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY OF ANSON'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD (1999, pp.xvii-xviii). HILL 1817. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 748/225. JCB (1)III:864. SABIN 1625, 101175. COX I, p.49. BORBA DE MORAES, p.38. NMM I:109.