4to (202 x 163mm), pp. [4 (title, verso blank, dedication, illustrations)], 59, [1 (blank)]; mounted photographic frontispiece and 29 mounted photographic plates, all after Estridge, one folding lithographic map, and one double-page letterpress table in the text; occasional light spotting, offsetting, or marking affecting text and plates, some photographs slightly faded; original hard-grained tan morocco, boards with gilt-ruled borders, upper board lettered in gilt, modern lemon-yellow endpapers, all edges gilt; a few light marks and scuffs, extremities lightly rubbed and chipped, skilfully rebacked and recornered, nonetheless a very good copy of a rare work; provenance: ‘From the author’ (presentation inscription on title, manuscript correction on p. 56, presumably in the author’s hand) – S.F. Hassan, Mombasa, 3 January 1953 (ownership inscription on verso of frontispiece) – Humphrey Winterton (booklabel on upper pastedown; his sale, Sotheby’s London, 28 May 2003, lot 248).
US $8016 €6813
First edition. Following a period in the army, Estridge (1837-1902) was appointed Collector of Customs at Mahé in the Seychelles (probably in 1880), and held the position until 1885, when he returned to England. In 1886 he took up the position of Receiver and Accountant-General, British Bechuanaland (and was elected a fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute in the same year), remaining in the country until 1888, when he retired to England.
Six Years in Seychelles provides an overview of the islands and their history, commerce, architecture, geography, and natural history. Estridge provides much information on the flora and fauna, printing extracts from the report compiled by John Horne (the Director of the Botanic Gardens, Mauritius, who visited Mahé from 1871 to 1874 and published his notes in 1875), and discussing plant-hunting trips undertaken at the behest of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, the Director of Kew, and a visit in 1884 from the celebrated botanist and artist Marianne North, who ‘greatly enjoyed the place, and was enraptured with the palms &c.’ (p. 51; North’s recollections of her visit and plant-hunting expeditions with Estridge appear in chapter XV of Recollections of a Happy Life (London: 1892), where he is identified as ‘Mr. E.’). Another notable visitor was Gordon of Khartoum: ‘[w]e found him most pleasant and chatty. He greatly admired and was deeply interested in the Seychelles, and said he thought Praslin must have been the Garden of Eden’ (loc. cit.).
In one passage, Estridge records the effects in the Seychelles of the eruption of Krakatoa on 27 August 1883 and the consequent tsunamis: ‘[i]t began at about 4 p.m. [...] and a tidal wave suddenly came rushing at about four miles an hour, and reaching a height of about 2½ feet above the usual high springs. It receded in about a quarter of an hour, leaving boats high and dry. It then returned, and the same thing continued all next day, only varying in the time, each movement taking about ten minutes, and the height reaching about 10 inches. I noted from 10.15 a.m. till 1.05 p.m., that the sea flowed and ebbed 17 times. At 5 p.m. the sun was clear and bright; at 6 p.m., sunset, there was a lurid glare all over the sky; at half-past six the glare got much brighter; and at a quarter to seven it disappeared. The sky all day was slightly hazy [...] We were not aware till after the arrival of the Mauritius mail what caused this, but then learnt what it was and the great destruction it had caused. Even now the shores of the various islands are covered with pumice-stone’ (pp. 51-52).
The work is dedicated to the soldier and administrator Sir Arthur Elibank Havelock (1844-1908), who was Chief Civil Commissioner Seychelles Islands from 1874 to 1875 and from 1879 to 1880, and ended his career serving as the Governor of Trinidad, Natal, Sri Lanka, Madras, and, finally, Tasmania. The number of copies issued of this privately-published work is unknown, but the expensive and laborious technique of illustration with mounted photographic prints (which appear to be platinum prints, but do display untypical traces of a coating), suggests that the edition was not large. Certainly, only three copies of Six Years in Seychelles can be traced at auction since 1975 in Anglo-American auction records: the Brooke-Hitching copy (Sotheby’s London, 30 September 2014, lot 452, rebacked), the present copy, and the Bradley Martin copy (12 December 1989, lot 1536, hand-coloured and inscribed to the author’s parents). To these can be added a further five in institutional libraries in the UK at Cambridge (2), Oxford (2), and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
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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).
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.
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).