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A Voyage to the South Sea;

undertaken by Command of His Majesty, for the Purpose of conveying the Bread-Fruit Tree to the West Indies, in His Majesty's Ship the Bounty, commanded by Lieutenant William Bligh, including an Account of the Mutiny on Board the said Ship, and the subsequent Voyage of Part of the Crew, in the Ship's Boat, from Tofoa, one of the Friendly Islands, to Timor, a Dutch Settlement in the East Indies. [bound with] A Narrative of the Mutiny...

Stock Code 98383

London, George Nicol, 1792

Original price $32,273.00 - Original price $32,273.00
Original price $0.00
$32,273.00 - $32,273.00
Current price $32,273.00
The excessively rare advance issue of the voyage. Excessively rare. One of a handful of known copies of a special advance issue of Bligh's narrative of his voyage in the Bounty. This issue contains the original 1790 printing of the Mutiny bound after a special advance printing of Bligh's account of the remainder of the voyage. In this version the text goes to page 153, with page 154 left blank, resuming on page 246 with page 245 blank save for a contemporary manuscript note in ink: 'reader, the substance of the history between pages 153 and 246 will be found after page 264 in the Narrative of the Mutiny, at the end of this volume.' Presumably the original intention was that the mutiny account was to have been bound to fill the gap between pages 154 and 246.

We can only trace the F.G. Coles copy, sold at auction in 1965. There are also copies in the National Library of Australia and the Mitchell Library at the State Library of New South Wales.

In 1787 Lieutenant Bligh took command of HMS Bounty, hoping to win a premium offered by the Royal Society for anyone who could obtain breadfruit trees, seen as a cheap, high-energy food source which could be given to British slaves. Having obtained the trees in Tahiti, Bligh set course for the Caribbean, where experiments were to take place to see if they would prove a successful food crop for slaves. However the ship never reached its destination because of a mutiny mounted by Bligh's protégé Fletcher Christian on 28 April 1789, during which he and eighteen loyal crewmen were forced into a tiny launch. Despite a brief landing in Tofua, where one crewman was killed by hostile natives, the rest of the crew survived the seemingly impossible 3,618 nautical miles voyage to Timor, the nearest European settlement, after a 47-day voyage. They visited several more islands before being transported back to Britain, during which time Bligh sketched maps of the various coasts.

First editions. 4to (29.2 x 23 cms), x, 1-153, [ii], 246-264; iv, 88pp., engraved portrait of Bligh and 7 engraved charts, plates and plans (of which one folding and 4 double-page); folding plan frontispiece, 3 charts (2 folding). Together bound in contemporary sprinkled calf, neatly rebacked.

Ferguson 126; Wantrup 62b.

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