The cruise of her Majesty’s Ship ‘Bacchante’ 1879–1882. Compiled from the private journals, letters, and note-books of Prince Albert Victor and Prince George of Wales, with additions by John N. Dalton.

London, Macmillan and Co., 1886.

2 vols, 8vo (225 x 150 mm), pp. xxviii, 675, [1]; [xii], 803, [1, blank], with one folding map, 15 plates and numerous illustrations in the text; original blue cloth; corners slightly worn; trace of a small label on front cover of vol. II, but a good, bright copy.


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First edition. An account of the three-year voyage of HMS Bacchante round the world with Prince Albert Victor and George Prince of Wales, the future George V, on board. The first volume covers: the Mediterranean, Tenerife, West Indies, Bermudas, Vigo, Ferrol, St. Vincent, the Plate, Falkland Islands, Cape of Good Hope, Australia and Fiji. The second: Japan, China, Straits Settlements, Ceylon, Egypt, Palestine and the Mediterranean again. It claims to be edited from the princes’ journals and letters by Reverend Dalton, the princes’ tutor, but was in fact largely written by Dalton alone.

‘In 1877 the two boys were sent to HMS Britannia, the Royal Navy’s training ship, with Dalton in attendance. This was followed, again with Dalton on board, by three years in HMS Bacchante, captained by Lord Charles Scott, in which the princes went round the world (1880–82); this was the third of their three voyages on the Bacchante, the first being to the West Indies (1879), the second to Spain and Ireland (1880). In an age when naval disasters were almost commonplace, placing both male heirs in one ship was a risk (as the cabinet pointed out), and indeed between South Africa and Australia the Bacchante was adrift rudderless for several days and several members of the crew were killed. The toughness of the conditions gave Prince George a point of reference to which he returned throughout his life. No member of the royal family had been exposed to such harsh physical and mental conditions since the youth of William IV’ (Oxford DNB).

Ferguson 5795; NMM I, 184.

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