“A Latter-Day Hakluyt”—Hill
66. DALRYMPLE, Alexander. An Historical Collection of the Several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean. Vol. I: Being Chiefly a Literal Translation from the Spanish Writers. [Vol. II]: ... Vol. II. Containing the Dutch Voyages. London: Printed for the Author; And Sold by J. Nourse, Bookseller in Ordinary to His Majesty; T. Payne...and P. Elmsley, 1770-1771.
Vol. I: [iii]-xxx (preface & introduction),  (“Monthly Review for May 1769”),  (“Account of some Natural Curiosities at Sooloo” & “An Enquiry into the Formation of Islands”), 21 (“Data on which the Chart of the South Sea was Formed” & “Of the Salomon Islands”),  (“Voyages and the Authors consulted”), 204 pp., 3 folding maps, 1 plate.
Vol. II: [2, title], 124 (p. 124 misnumbered 224), 20 (“Conduct of the Discoveries”),  (comparative vocabulary of Hoorn, Cocos, New Guinea, Moyse, and Moo),  “A Chronological Table”),  (index), [4, errata (verso blank)] pp., 11 copper-engraved plates (4 folding), 1 copper-engraved folding map.
2 vols. in one, 4to, original full tree calf (skillfully rebacked, recent period-style spine with raised bands, new red morocco gilt-lettered spine label, spine with gilt-stamped decorations and ships and stars in panels, edges tinted yellow). Binding with a few scratches and abrasions, but carefully restored. A few short, clean splits to folding maps (no losses) and occasional inconsequential mild foxing, overall a fine copy, the plates and maps are very fine and in good impressions. Lacking half titles.
List of Maps
3 untitled maps on one sheet: [upper left]: Circular map of the northern hemisphere; [center]: Diagonally placed to stretch across the sheet between the other two maps, this long panel map shows the Pacific Ocean with most of the African continent to the left, and North America from Baja California and the Gulf of Mexico to slightly south of Paraguay; [lower right]: circular map of the southern hemisphere. [above lower plate mark]: Published according to Act of Parliament 20th. 1769. by Alexander Dalrymple. Folding. This unusual map, which Dalrymple entitled in his text as Map of the World, on a new projection, correctly shows a peninsular California.
Chart of the South Pacifick Ocean, Pointing out the Discoveries made therein, Previous to 1764. [below neat line at right]: Theodore Gerrards, 1599. Publish'd according to Act of Parliament Octor. 1767. Folding.
3 maps on one sheet: [upper]: Plan of Part of Papua and New Britain or the Salomon Islands, Copied from Dampier, Collated with DeBry, Herrera, &c.; [middle left]: DeBry 1596; [lower]: Copy of Part of Dampiers Chart, from Cape Good Hope, to New Britain. Folding.
Untitled map: [lower left] Staats Land or New Zeeland [top right]: Prince Williams Islands.... Folding.
List of Plates
Several of the plates bear the name of Royal Academy member J[oseph] Collyer [the younger] (1748-1827), noted portrait artist who studied under Anthony Walker, engraved book illustrations for Alderman Boydell, and was given permission by Sir Joshua Reynolds to reproduce two of his paintings. Collyer also assisted in the engravings accompanying Ellis’ Authentic Account (see Item 22 above). Some engravings are after the work of Isaac Gilsemans, supercargo and official cartographer and artist to Tasman's expedition. Gilsemans’ images record the first European contact with Natives of what is now New Zealand.
Teepye Lobster. Not on author’s plate and map list, but usually found with the book.
Untitled plate of Natives sailing a small boat.
View of Cocos Island in Lat. 16.° 10.’ S°. Long 176.° 41.’ E. a London and of Traitor’s Islands.
Horn Island. [left of title]: References in this Map of Horn Island Road. A. Union Bay where we moored the Ship with four Anchors. [right of title]: B. The small River near which we Anchored and where we used to go to Water. C. The Kings Belay or Tent under which he used every Day to set in the Shade. Graphic depiction of Natives in canoes being shot by Tasman’s crew.
[Above image]: Representations of the Inhabitants &c. of Horne Island in 14° 56’ S0. Long. 171°. 21’. E. a London. A. The Two Kings meeting each other saluting & welcoming with strange Ceremonies. [followed by keyed descriptions B through L].
2 views on one sheet: [upper]: The Continent south of the rocky point. [lower]: Staten Landt or the States Land south of the rocky point. [below neat line at right]: J. Collyer, Sc. Both of these New Zealand views are after the work of Tasman’s artist Gilseman. The upper view shows The Steeples, and the lower illustrates Cape Foulwind and Westport.
2 scenes on one sheet: [left]: View of Murderers Bay on New Zealand in 15 fath.m Water [right]: View of Tasmans Bay on New Zeland in 33 fath.m Water. Folding. Two views in New Zealand: at left is Golden (or Massacre) Bay; at right, Blind Bay. Another violent encounter between the Maori and the Dutch.
Three Kings Island in 40 fath. on the N.W. Side. [lower right below neat line]: J. Collyer, Sculp. This engraving was also based on Gilseman’s work. Two homunculus warriors brandishing club and sticks stand atop the peaks. The scene is north Cape Maria Van Diemen; the island was named in commemoration of the Feast of Epiphany.
4 profiles in 2 horizontal panels on one sheet: [upper]: The Island Amsterdam bearing E.N.E. distant 3 miles (12') in Latitude 21°, 20 S. Long. a London 176.56.W [lower left]: Pylstart Island E.N.E. 6 miles (24) dist.t [lower center]: Pylstart Island E.S.E. 3 miles (12) dist.t; [lower right] Middleburg bear.g E. by S. 4 miles (16') dist.t [below neat line at right]: J. Collyer, Sculp. Folding.
2 scenes on one sheet with title for both extending above images: Amsterdam Island in 21°. 20’. S.° Long. 17°6.5’6. W. a London. [left]: [untitled view of ships and boats at harbour before island]. [right]: [untitled view of four Natives standing and sitting on a prominence in front of bay with their traditional double-hulled canoes]. [Explanatory text below]: A. Our ships at anchor in Diemens road. B. Small proas belonging to the king of the country. C. Vessells or proas joined together with one deck. D. A fishing proa. E. Their coming on board with coco nuts & c. F. The kings residence. G. The place where our boats lay when they went to water. H. The place where they came to meet our people with flags of truce. I. The place where our people kept guard. K. The kings belay in an inclosure where he received our people. L. The king & his nobility's washing place. M. Their vessells at anchor. N. This peoples manner of sitting, standing, & their cloathing. O. The bay where the king lives & his gallery lyes to which Tasman gave the name of Marias Bay from M. Van Diemens spouse. Folding. Based on Gilsemans’ images.
2 scenes on one sheet with title below: Anamocka by the Dutch named Rotterdam Island in 20.° 15.’ S.° Latitude Long. London 176.°15’W. [left]: [untitled view showing Anamocka and other islands, ships and boats, compass]. [right]: [untitled view with four Natives standing in foreground, harbor and boats in background]. Explanatory text above: A. The ships lying off Anamocka. B. A sandy bay from whence the Indians came aboard in their proas. C. Watering place. D. Piece of fresh water close to the sea on the N. side of the island. E. A proa under raid bringing fruits from the other islands. F. Where the boats lay to fetch water. G. Appearance & cloathing of the inhabitants as they came aboard us. Folding
Onton Java, Appeared thus when it bore S.W.2 Miles (8’) dist.t[lower right above neat line]: J. Collyer Sculp.
Total: 4 folding copper-engraved maps and 12 copper-engraved plates (exotic tropical scenes, Natives, ships and boats, views, and profiles). Four of the plates are folding, and all are on thick, laid paper.
First edition, trade issue, title of Vol. I dated 1770 rather than 1769, dedication with the thinly veiled attack on Captain Samuel Wallis in line 13, “to HIM—who Infatuated with Female Blandishments, Forgot for what he went abroad”; etc. “The first issue of 1769 is exceedingly rare, and there are only a few copies extant. The regular trade edition was issued in 1770.... The second volume, printed in 1771, is exactly the same in both sets, however, the two issues of the first volume have different title pages and preliminary materials” (Hill). Kroepelien notes a large paper issue on laid paper with watermark (Shield of Strasbourg | LVG) and cut pages measuring ca. 270 x 220 mm. The present copy has laid paper without watermark, and the cut pages measure approximately 27.2 x 20.6 cm. Braislin 543: “This rare collection of voyages largely by the earliest Spanish explorers details discoveries of previously unknown islands and coasts of the Pacific and contains material not otherwise available in English even at the present time.” Cox I, p. 19. Davidson, p. 36. Hill I, p. 389. Hill II:410. Hocken, pp. 7-9: “The whole is puzzling to collate.” Holmes 32. JCB III:1730. Kroepelien 245: “It is to be hoped that the intricate and tricky bibliography of Alexander Dalrymple shall in the near future be thoroughly surveyed by a trained bibliographer; cf. Beaglehole II, p. lxxxix: “Dalrymple ‘is a figure ripe for more extended study.’” O’Reilly-Reitman 97. Palau 68176. Rich I, p. 177. Sabin 18338. Streeter Sale 2404. Wilgus, The Historiography of Latin America, pp. 222-223: “His work contained translations from Spanish authors of discoveries in the Pacific between South America and New Guinea.”
Davidson comments at length on the collation of this work, and we believe it worthwhile to record his observations (pp. 36-37):
It is always difficult to collate Dalrymple’s work and careful research of catalogues from booksellers indicates that the number of engraved plates and maps varies between copies, though they are all listed as complete. The most common numbers are 16 and 18 maps and plates, but other copies are recorded as complete with only 11, 13, and 15.
After discussing this problem at length with many booksellers and collectors I collated over twenty copies.... As a result I now believe the work is complete with 16 maps and plates (those listed in the preface under the caption: ‘I intended that this collection should contain the following plates’) plus the plate of the Teepye Lobsters’ in Volume I which has been present in every copy I have examined. The two others which are very occasionally present, and make up the 18 plates and maps sometimes recorded, are the map of ‘part of Borneo and the Sooloo Archiplogo [sic] laid down chiefly from observations made in 1761, 2, 3 and 4, by Dalrymple’ and ‘a chart of the Schooner Cuddalores’ Track along the West Coast of Palawan in December 1761, by Dalrymple.’ [Note: The mentioned chart and plate are not present in the copy offered here.]
The detailing of a separate price beside each of the plates and maps in the list of plates in the preface indicates that they were sold apart from the text and that their purchase was optional. As Dalrymple was a profuse cartographer and a producer of charts and plates this is not surprising. Together with the fact that there were at least three issues of the work and one issue on large paper with the plates on India paper, it probably accounts for the confusion and the discrepancies between copies.
It is particularly interesting to note that most copies I have examined contained either 15 or 16 plates and charts and that the autographed presentation copy from Dalrymple to Sir Everard Home in the Petherick collection in the National Library, and in its original binding, contains only 15 plates. Accordingly, while it may be too harsh to insist that copies with less than 16 plates and charts are incomplete, I would advise collectors to endeavour to obtain a copy with the 16 I have detailed.
Dalrymple’s collection on Pacific history contains careful compilations and translations from various travellers and accounts, along with his critical remarks, notes, references, and lengthy index. His work, which came out just before Cook returned from his first voyage, presents pre-Cook knowledge of the Pacific, beginning with Ferdinand Magellan (1519) and including Spanish translations such as the quixotic Quiros, who stopped at California (1606), and Dutch voyagers Jacob Le Maire, Willem Schouten, Abel Tasman, and Jacob Roggewein. Dalrymple emphatically advocates the geographical will-o’-the-wisp “Great Southern Continent,” a theory ultimately dispelled when Captain Cook sailed over a substantial portion of it during his second voyage (1772-1775). Cook did find evidence of a so-called terra australis incognita, however, by his discovery of New Zealand and the southeast coast of Australia. In a side note to history (or perhaps book lore), Dalrymple’s work has been connected with South Polar history, because it was one of the few books Captain Cook had with him on his second voyage, during which Cook’s ship (the Resolution) was the first European vessel to cross the Antarctic Circle.
Dalrymple’s work was the first critical edition of discoveries in Australasia and Polynesia. He correctly and passionately theorized that the unexploited South Pacific would expand England’s trade base. His work aroused widespread interest in learning more about those unknown regions, charting new coasts, and seeking trade opportunities. Dalrymple includes a fascinating discussion of how such trade might impact the North American colonies. "Discovery of new lands," and thereby new markets for British goods, he wrote, would diminish the "decisive importance" of the American colonies to the empire. His argument lays out a scenario wherein American colonial interests, during a trade depression, would be able to put pressure on Parliament, but quickly adds: “What is said, must not be misconstrued to a general condemnation of the conduct of the American colonies; it refers only to the mode adopted of entering into compacts not to use the manufactures of England, that by the distress of the industrious manufacturer the legislature of this kingdom may be compelled to repeal those acts of parliament which the Americans think grievous. The common rights of humanity entitle them to represent their grievances, and whatever is thought unjust is a grievance; the first step of tyranny is to shut the ear against complaints: the last to shut the mouth of the complainant” (pp. xxvii-xxviii, introduction).
Scotsman Dalrymple (1737-1808), first Hydrographer to the Admiralty, friend of Benjamin Franklin, and opponent of the war against the American colonies, obtained an appointment as writer in the East India Company at the age of fifteen, serving thirteen years in the East (Philippines, Borneo, Sulu, India). He returned to England in 1765, having by then been made a fellow of the Royal Society. He began an energetic acquisition of materials for a history of the South Pacific. In one of the great disappointments of his life, he did not obtain a commission to observe the transit of Venus. Captain Cook was appointed instead, resulting in a lifetime of negativity toward the famous navigator. Dalrymple’s clever, negative dedications in this work are tinged by his embitterment, including the above noted reference to Banks and “Female Blandishments,” and Byron (see Item 60 herein) “who discovered scarcely anything but Patagonians.”
The present work, a cornerstone for Pacific history, was preceded by the author’s 1767 Account of Discoveries in the Pacific Ocean before 1764, written to garner support for the 1769 transit of Venus expedition ultimately bestowed upon Cook. Dalrymple continued his geographical and hydrographical studies, which led to the present very commendable work. In 1769 Dalrymple was appointed Hydrographer to the East India Company and in 1795 assumed the same position for the Board of Admiralty, holding both posts concurrently (“As a cartographer, Dalrymple was without peer”—Hill). His assiduous research and collecting of maps from wide and varied sources greatly assisted the explorations of the period between Cook and Vancouver, by providing the most complete navigational analysis for the Pacific region then available. He prepared for publication the maps created during the Vancouver expedition (see no. 74 below) and others, as well. Dalrymple wrote on the fur trade of the Pacific Northwest and assisted in the translation and publication of the 1790 English edition of Costansó’s Diario histórico de los viages de mar, y tierra hechos al norte de la California (1790—see Wagner, Spanish Southwest 149 and Zamorano 80 22), the first book relating exclusively to California.
Hill aptly epitomizes Dalrymple as a “latter-day Hakluyt.” ($9,000-18,000)
Images (click to enlarge)
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