A journal of transactions and events, during a residence of nearly sixteen years on the coast of Labrador; containing many interesting particulars, both of the country and its inhabitants, not hitherto known. Illustrated with proper charts.

Newark, Allin & Ridge, 1792.

3 volumes, 4to, pp. [ii], xvi, [vi, list of subscribers], 272, ‘265’–‘287’; x, 505; x, 248, 15; with a frontispiece-portrait (lightly browned and offset onto title) and three charts on two folding engraved plates; with a signed autograph letter by Cartwright tipped in at front of vol. I (see below); occasional light foxing, soiling or offsetting, small marginal tear in one leaf (Dd2 of vol. III, without loss), but a good copy in contemporary calf-backed boards, spines gilt and with gothick motif in compartments; slightly rubbed, some joints cracked but firm.

£6250

Approximately:
US $8360€7081

Make an enquiry

First edition. Cartwright, formerly a major in the British army, made six expeditions to Newfoundland and Labrador between 1770 and 1786. His Journal ‘is, among other things, a detailed seasonal record of the exploitation of coastal resources by one who combined keen entrepreneurial interests with an inextinguishable zest for the chase which made him nature’s nemesis; a finely observed record of natural history and meteorology; and, above all, testimony to a persistent, curious, and resourceful mind. In his relations with the native peoples of Labrador, especially the Inuit, Cartwright displayed an honesty which led to mutual trust. In 1772 he took a family of five Inuit to England, where they created considerable interest, meeting with the king, members of the Royal Society including Joseph Banks, and James Boswell, who reported to a sceptical Samuel Johnson his ability to communicate with them by sign language. The poet Robert Southey, who had met Cartwright in 1791, recorded in his Common-place book: “I read his book in 1793 . . . . This man had strength and perseverance charactered in every muscle . . . . The annals of his campaigns among the foxes and beavers interested me far more than ever did the exploits of Marlbro’ or Frederic; besides, I saw plain truth and the heart in Cartwright’s book – and in what history could I look for this? Coleridge took up a volume one day and was delighted with its strange simplicity”. What has only recently been properly recognized, however, is the interest of Cartwright not only in the Inuit language and its study, but also in making himself a glossarist of 18th-century Newfoundland English; and he was a close student of and perhaps contributor to the work of such scientific contemporaries as Banks, Thomas Pennant, and Daniel Carl Solander’ (Dictionary of Canadian Biography).

Tipped in at the beginning of vol. I is a signed autograph letter from Cartwright to his niece, dated at Nottingham on 28 December 1799. Cartwright thanks his niece for sending him news of ‘the amended state of health of my sisters’. The principal purpose of his letter, however, is to request that his sisters look through his correspondence with them from 1796 in order that he may settle an accounting dispute with the Barrack Office over coal supplied to the army. Cartwright’s niece is perhaps the Miss F. Cartwright of Mirfield Hall who appears in the list of subscribers. Autograph letters by Cartwright are rare on the market.

Lande 106; Sabin 11150; TPL 586.

You may also be interested in...

THE INGENIOUS ART OF SPECULATION: A MAN MAY SELL WHAT HE HAS NOT, AND GROW RICH. [GREENE, Asa.]

The perils of Pearl Street, including a taste of the dangers of Wall Street, by a late merchant.

First edition of a very early Wall Street novella, the fictional tale of Billy Hazard, an innocent carpenter’s son from rural New York state determined to make it as a merchant in the city. Billy’s attempts to establish himself in the mercantile trade in New York City are ultimately unsuccessful as his unhappy combination of gullibility and ignorance conspire to ruin him with a succession of three major failures. Billy’s financial misadventures are perfectly illustrated in a passage recounting his foray into the Stock Market at the urging of his partner, his third and final failure:

Read more

BOUGAINVILLE, Louis Antoine de, comte.

A Voyage round the World ... In the years 1766, 1767, 1768, and 1769 ... Translated from the French by John Reinhold Forster. London: J.

First English edition. The first French circumnavigation, undertaken by Bougainville, who had instructions to hand over the Falkland Island, which he had colonised in 1764, to Spain (currently France’s ally), and then to proceed towards China via the Straits of Magellan and the South Sea, investigating the islands or continent lying between the Indies and the western seaboard of America (cf. John Dunmore, French Explorers in the Pacific (Oxford: 1965), I, p. 67). Unaware of Wallis’s visit less than a year before, Bougainville claimed possession of Tahiti, and then reached the New Hebrides archipelago and ‘La Austrialia del Espíritu Santo’, which had been discovered by Quiros in 1606 and was believed to be part of the supposed Southern Continent. The only way to determine this, Bougainville resolved, was to sail westward a further 350 leagues in the hope of sighting the eastern coast of New Holland. ‘This he did, only to be impeded by the Great Barrier Reef and, although several of his crew claimed to have sighted land, this was not confirmed and the ships were headed to the N. Nevertheless, Bougainville concluded that he was close to some extensive land and, in running westwards from Espíritu Santo, he had dared to face the risk of the legendary lee-shore of New Holland and New Guinea, even though prudence, shortage of food and the condition of his vessels would have justified his heading northwards at an earlier date’ (Colin Jack-Hinton, The Search for the Islands of Solomon (Oxford: 1969), p. 256); G.A. Wood, The Discovery of Australia (London: 1922) observes that had Bougainville persevered ‘he would have come to the Australian coast near Cooktown, and would, likely enough, have been wrecked where Cook was wrecked two years later’ (pp. 369-379).

Read more