“The Injured Islanders”
32. [COOK LITERATURE]. [FITZGERALD, Gerald]. The Injured Islanders; or, The Influence of Art upon the Happiness of Nature. London: J. Murray; and W. Creech, Edinburgh, 1779. 8, 25  pp., title page with copper engraving depicting female Islanders in déshabillé dancing for Captain Wallis, drawn by W. Hamilton and engraved by Isaac Taylor. 4to, late nineteenth-century half brown roan over marbled boards, spine gilt-lettered (skillfully rebacked, spine preserved, new endpapers). Half title with closed tears at gutter margin, light browning and foxing, especially to first and last leaves. Harvard College blind stamps on title page and first page of poem; printed Harvard College bookplate on front pastedown and Harvard College ink stamp on title page verso, both with release stamps. Overall a good copy of a scarce work for which the only two auction records for any edition are the 1935 Harmsworth sale (Dublin, 1779, ed.) and a 1977 Sotheby’s sale of this edition (lacking half title).
First edition. Beddie 3812 (locating one copy). Cox II, p. 302. Hill II:606: “With all the advantages of discovery, the poem voices regret that innocent natives have been the primary sufferers of the event, and indeed, have lost more than they gained from such contact.” Hocken, p. 19. Holmes 32. Kroepelien 434. O’Reilly-Reitman 9803. The attribution to Samuel Wallis is now discredited. In verse, supposedly an address from Berea, deposed queen of Tahiti, to Samuel Wallis, deploring the ill effects Europeans have had on the islanders, a catalogue that includes war, revenge, ambition, and venereal disease. Fitzgerald in his preface places the blame for these problems squarely on Europeans for introducing into a fairly stable, primitive culture implements and ideas that have turned to their destruction: “But whatever Advantages either the Spirit of Enterprize, or commercial or scientific Interests may derive from some Discoveries that have been made in that distant Hemisphere, it is much to be lamented, that the innocent Natives have been Sufferers by the Event...” (p. ).
Reverend Fitzgerald, professor at Trinity College, Dublin, is believed to have styled this work after Goldsmith's "Deserted Village." ($1,000-2,000)
Image (click to enlarge)
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