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Auction 15: Fine Collection of Californiana Formed by Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.

Lots 164-166: Noteworthy Circumnavigations, Armchair Overland

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164. ROBINSON, Fayette. California and Its Gold Regions; With a Geographical and Topographical View of the Country, Its Mineral and Agricultural Resources. Prepared from Official and Other Authentic Documents; With a Map of the U. States and California, Showing the Routes of the U. S. Mail Steam Packets to California, also the Various Overland Routes. New York: Stringer & Townsend, 1849. 137 [1, blank] [6, ads] pp. (wanting map). 8vo, original gold printed wrappers bound in early twentieth-century three-quarter brown morocco over brown pebble cloth, spine gilt-lettered and with raised bands. Lightly scuffed at joints, upper wrapper chipped with loss at lower right blank margin and several tears closed, some wrinkling to text, otherwise very good. With printed bookplate of Joseph M. Gleason on front pastedown (see Talbot, Historic California in Bookplates, p. 99), old ink accession number on verso of title page and p. 33, printed bookseller ticket of Boston’s W. B. Clarke & Carruth on inside of lower wrapper.
    First edition, first issue. Cowan I, pp. 193-194. Cowan II, p. 537. Graff 3527. Howell 50, California 212. Howes R366. Jones 1215. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 539b. Norris 3291. Rocq 16029. Sabin 72070. Streeter Sale 2595. Vail, Gold Fever, 22. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 116; Books of the California Gold Rush 168: “One of the best of the earliest books on California printed for sale to intending goldseekers.” An unusual book in that it was admittedly written for the armchair rather than the actual traveler (p. [3]). Nevertheless, it includes considerable information that would be of use to an actual Argonaut. Among such tips is one offered by the publishers on the rear wrapper, urging that emigrants buy books for the trip: “They eat nothing, nor do they spoil, and they will be sold at prices that will insure to the dealer a profit of from three to five hundred per cent.”
($300-500)

165. ROGERS, Woodes. A Cruising Voyage round the World: First to the South-Sea, Thence to the East-Indies, and Homewards by the Cape of Good Hope. Begun in 1708, and finish’d in 1711.... London: Printed for Andrew Bell at the Cross-Keys and Bible in Cornhil, and Bernard Lintot at the Cross-Keys between the Temple-Gates, Fleetstreet, 1718. xix [1, blank] 428, 57 [7] pp., 5 copper-engraved folded maps, including a map by Moll showing California as an island: A Map of the World with the Ships Duke & Dutchess Tract Round it from 1708 to 1711 | By Herman Moll Geographer (20.3 x 35.5 cm; 8 x 14 inches). 8vo, contemporary paneled calf (neatly rebacked in modern dark brown calf with original spine labels preserved, original endpapers preserved), edges sprinkled. Old leather scuffed, maps with uniform light age toning, remains of old book label on front pastedown, overall a very good copy, interior fine.
    Second edition, corrected (first edition, London, 1712). Braislin 1575: “One of the earliest works in the English language to describe California.” Cowan I, pp. 194-195. Cowan II, p. 540. European Americana 718/154. Hill 1479 (first edition): “A buccaneering classic.” Howes R421 (points out that Captain Edward Cooke also contributed to this account). JCB V:238. Mathes, California Colonial Bibliography 31. Sabin 72754. Wagner, Spanish Southwest 78a. The expedition cruised off the coast of Peru, reached California in 1709, and then crossed the Pacific to Asia. It was perhaps this voyage that Defoe drew upon for Robinson Crusoe. For more on the background of this voyage, see item 45 herein.
($1,000-2,000)

§§§§§

Following the death of Carlos II of Spain without heir, in 1700 Europe was again engaged in international conflict, The War of Spanish Succession. The deceased king’s will had granted the Spanish throne to his cousin, Philip of Valois (Felipe V), a grandson of Louis XIV and, fearing the formation of a Franco-Hispanic power bloc, England allied with Austria to press for succession by Leopold of Hapsburg, another cousin of the deceased monarch. As the war progressed, the Anglo-Austrian alliance sought means to cripple Spanish power by attacking her sources of wealth in the New World. In 1708 the British Parliament authorized privateering voyages free from royal taxation, and various investors in England initiated the outfitting of ships for attacking Spanish ports and shipping. In that same year, Woodes Rogers, a young mariner with little experience but a popular leader, in command of the expedition and captaining the Duke with William Dampier (twice circumnavigator) as pilot, and Stephen Courtney captaining the Dutchess [sic] with Edward Cooke as second captain, sailed from Bristol. The voyage was to follow the routes and methodology established over a century earlier by Francis Drake (1578-1580) and his successor, Thomas Cavendish (1586-1588) by sailing unnoticed to the east coast of South America and southward, rounding Cape Horn, and attacking Spanish ports and shipping on the less hostile Pacific Coast. Primary targets were to be silver-galleons sailing from Callao to Panamá and, hopefully, the Manila galleon bringing treasure from Asia to the west coast of New Spain.
    Entering the Pacific in 1709, the Duke and Dutchess made history in February by rescuing Alexander Selkirk, marooned on Isla Juan Fernández and later immortalized by Daniel Defoe as Robinson Crusoe. Proceeding northward, the ships captured some twenty ships off the Chilean, Peruvian, and Ecuadorian coasts, and captured the port of Guayaquil. There they took the Havre de Grace, renamed Marquis under the command of Cooke. Continuing, the expedition coasted Central America and New Spain, and stood off Cabo San Lucas from mid-November to January, 1710, awaiting the Manila ship. With the arrival of the Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación y Desengaño and the Nuestra Señora de Begoña en route to Acapulco, Rogers alone with Duke, and having lost part of his jaw to a bullet, captured the former, however, the latter giving battle for two days successfully drove off the three English ships. Following repairs, the now four ships (Encarnación y Desengaño renamed Batchelor) sailed from Cabo San Lucas across the Pacific, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and reached England in October, 1711.
    During their long sojourn at Cabo San Lucas both Cooke and Rogers made lengthy ethnographic, geographic, zoological, and botanical observations. The publication of Cooke’s Voyage... preceded that of Rogers by a few months, however, the latter’s work proved more popular, and appeared in three editions in 1712, 1718, and 1726. While it does not contain the detailed drawings and descriptions provided by Cooke, Rogers’ work is considered more literary.

––W. Michael Mathes

166. ROQUEFEUIL, M. Camille de. Voyage Autour du Monde...suivi d’un vocabulaire des Termes de Marine. Paris: Béthune et Plon, 1843. [4] [xiii]-xlix [1, errata] 344 + [4] 407 pp., 6 engraved plates and maps (including 2 frontispieces; some folded). 2 vols., 8vo, contemporary full tan calf, spines lettered and decorated in gilt, upper covers embossed, stamped in gilt, and edges rolled in blind and gilt, marbled endpapers. Boards lightly rubbed in a few places, tear to frontispiece of vol. 1 neatly closed, scattered light foxing throughout text (a little heavier on some of the plates), 7.5 cm (3-inch) tear at text block in world map, but otherwise a fine set in a prize binding from “Institution Bellaguet Muron.”


    First edition, second issue, with new title pages, vol. 1 omitting pp. i-xii, and plates added (first edition, Paris, 1823). Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 1439 (locating only one copy; before its discovery this edition was unknown). Citations to the first edition: Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 569. Howes R438. Lada-Mocarski 86. Monaghan 1259. O’Reilly & Reitman 790. Sabin 73149. This account of the third French circumnavigation is an important one in numerous aspects in any edition. The remarks on Alaska are praised by Lada-Mocarski, and Forbes is equally flattering in his commentary on the Hawaii portion of the text. As did many French visitors during this period, Roquefeuil finds California pleasant but a land of contradictions. He is taken aback at the lack of industry in San Francisco, yet pleased at the urbanity and civilized manners of the political and religious leaders whom he encounters. In a foreshadowing of a great industry that will eventually arise, he remarks of a meal that “the wine was passable, and I learned with astonishment that it was...a California product” (vol. 1, p. 151). The California map, Carte de la Cote Nord-Oeust d’Amerique pour servir an Voyage autour du Monde par Monsr. Camille de Roquefeuil pendant les annees 1816, 1817, 1818 et 1819 (33.6 x 27.4 cm; 13-3/4 x 10-3/4 inches), shows the coast from Point Arguello to Kodiak Island and the voyage between those points.
($4,000-8,000)

§§§§§

Following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and re-establishment of peace in France in 1815, numerous unoccupied naval personnel were available for a renewal of voyages of exploration and scientific discovery. Of particular interest was the locating of the site of the loss of the ships Boussole and Astrolabe of Jean-François Galaup de Lapérouse in 1787 and determining if there were survivors, as well as expanding the scientific information collected in the late eighteenth century. Further, special attention to the potential of the fur trade in the Pacific Northwest was to be given, to follow up the observations of Gabriel Franchere in the area during his voyage of 1810-1814. To this end, ship’s lieutenant Camille de Roquefeuil, a royalist officer from an illustrious naval family, sailed with the Bordelais from Bordeaux in October, 1816.
    Reaching the Falklands in January 1817, Roquefeuil considered the possibilities of using the area as a fishing base and site for the deportation of criminals as England had done with Australia. Rounding Cape Horn, he reached Valparaiso in February in the midst of the Chilean wars of independence. Giving an English and several Spanish families asylum on board, he continued to Callao, where he was well received. Noting commercial potentials and whaling activities, Roquefeuil made extensive descriptive comments, and, continuing his voyage northward, reached San Francisco in August. He found the place destitute and proceeded to Nootka where the ship’s surgeon Yves-Thomas-René Vimont made detailed ethnographic observations. Here, too, there was little promise found, with the sea otter herds substantially reduced and only the salmon fishery seemed of potential value.
    Returning to San Francisco, the Bordelais remained for a three-week rest, and particularly detailed descriptions were made by Vimont. From San Francisco, Roquefeuil reached the Marquesas in December, 1817 where again Vimont provided valuable ethnographic observations. After three months, the Bordelais sailed northward again, reaching Sitka in early April 1818, and subsequently visited the Russian settlement at Kodiak, where Roquefeuil observed a sea otter hunt. Sailing southward again to the Queen Charlotte Islands and Nootka, in September the expedition reached San Francisco, and again, in November, returned to Sitka, and finding that Russia had prohibited hunting by foreigners, continued to Hawaii in January 1819. In March, Roquefeuil anchored at Macau, and sailing in April, he reached Mauritius in June and thence continued around the Cape of Good Hope to his home port of Bordeaux in November.
    Present during the heat of Spanish American wars of independence and the zenith of the activities of the Russian American Company in Alaska, Roquefeuil was a valuable observer, and his surgeon, Vimont, provided excellent ethnographic descriptions. The voyage was the last of colonial voyages to the Spanish domains and is transitional from the age of Lapérouse to that of Duhaut-Cilly.

––W. Michael Mathes


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