London: printed for W. Bowyer and J. Nichols, W. Strahan, J. F. and C. Rivington, T. Davies, L. Hawes and Co. R. Horsfield, T. Becket, T. Lowndes, S. Crowder, J. Knox, T. Cadell, W. Otridge, G. Robinson, R. Baldwin, W. Woodfall, and E. Johnston [from 1748], MDCCLXXVI . Early Reprint. Full Calf. Fifteenth Edition (first published 1748) of the official account of Anson's famous circumnavigation of the world, the "most popular book of maritime adventure of the eighteenth century" and a "masterpiece of descriptive travel." (Hill). Royal Quarto (not the inferior octavo edition of the same year), complete with 42 plates, maps and charts (many folding), in addition to the magnificent folding map, bound in as frontispiece, showing the route of the Centurion, not present in the first edition and not called for in the directions to the binder. xx,417,pp. Contemporary speckled calf, sympathetically rebacked in matching brown calf, spine with raised bands ruled in gilt, gilt-lettered red morocco label. End papers renewed, but retaining copper-engraved armorial bookplate of Julines Hering (presumably Julines Hering [1732-1797] of Heybridge Hall, military officer and later wealthy owner of sugar plantations in Jamaica), reaffixed to front paste down. An excellent copy, the attractive contemporary binding tight and secure, several maps with nearly invisible repairs by a paper conservationist, a few plates and adjacent text-pages foxed, a few neat marginal notes in brown ink in a contemporary hand, but in all a very bright, clean, well-margined copy, with only light occasional finger-soiling and spotting. Hill 1817. Sabin 1629. Gibson's Library, p. 50. Borba de Moraes I 38. Cox Vol. I, p. 49. Near Fine+. Item #BB1232
One of the landmark English circumnavigations, Anson's voyage laid the groundwork for British voyages of exploration in the Pacific by Cook and others during the second half of the 18th century. Unlike those later voyages undertaken for scientific purposes, however, Anson's was a strictly military expedition, intended to disrupt Spanish commerce in the Pacific and cut off Spanish supplies of wealth from South America after the outbreak of war between Britain and Spain, in 1739. In the autumn of that year, Anson was put in command of a small squadron—the Centurion (60 guns), the Gloucester (50 guns), the Severn (50 guns), the Pearl (40 guns), the Wager (28 guns), the sloop Tryal (8 guns) and two store ships—and sent to plunder Spanish trading territories on the Pacific coast of South America. But after his ships were battered by storms and most of his crew lost during the trip round Cape Horn, the expedition was on the verge of collapse. Anson retreated across the Pacific to Macao, where the Centurion was repaired and more crew was signed on. Then, in June, 1743, Anson achieved a substantial victory, capturing a Spanish treasure ship, the Manila galleon, off the Philippines, and returned to England in 1744 by way of China, thus completing a circumnavigation. "Anson’s voyage is remembered as a classic tale of endurance and leadership in the face of fearful disasters, but to the British public of 1744 it was the treasure of the galleon, triumphantly paraded through the streets of London, which did something to restore national self-esteem battered by an unsuccessful war." (ODNB) The precise authorship of the Voyage has long been a subject of debate. Although the title-page states the book was "compiled" by Richard Walter, chaplain of Anson's flagship the 'Centurion,' Sir John Barrow's 1839 Life of George, Lord Anson claimed it was, in fact, written by Colonel Benjamin Robins, "an engineer officer of great talent and celebrity." According to Barrow, "Walter drew the skeleton, and Robins clothed it with flesh and warmth of imagination." N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).