A Voyage round the World, in the Years MDCCXL, I, II, III, IV ... Compiled from Papers and Other Materials of the Right Honourable George Lord Anson, and Published under his Direction, by Richard Walter, M.A., Chaplain of his Majesty’s Ship the Centurion, in that Expedition.

London: John and Paul Knapton for the author, 1748.

4to (249 x 201mm), pp. [2 (title, verso blank)], [3 (dedication)], [1 (blank)], [12 (list of subscribers)], [4 (contents and errata)], [11 (introduction)], [1 (blank)], 417, [1 (blank)], [2 (directions to the binder)]; 42 folding plates and charts; some light browning and spotting, some plates with short, skilfully-repaired tears and marginal marking and/or chipping, a few deeper tears; early 19th-century half calf over marbled boards (one endpaper watermarked ‘1808’), spine gilt in compartments, gilt morocco lettering-piece in one, all edges speckled red; rubbed, joints neatly repaired and hinges skilfully reinforced, corners bumped; provenance: John Crellius (contemporary ownership signature on title) – R.B. Mills (tipped in note on front free endpaper: ‘From R. B. Mills to Mr. J. Addinall as a slight memento of his gallant rescue of his son Richard Bales Mills from drowning in the river Ouse at Kendal Bridge York July 11th 1901’) – H.L.C. Aked (tipped in visiting card on front free endpaper, noting that it was a wedding present on 25 November 1949 to:) – George Gosselin Marten (d. 1997, engraved armorial bookplate on upper pastedown).


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First edition. ‘Anson’s voyage of 1740-44 holds a unique and terrible place in British maritime history. The misadventures of this attempt by Royal Navy ships to sail round the world make a dramatic story of hardship, disaster, mutiny and endurance [...]. [When] Anson reached the coast of China in November 1742 he was left with one ship and a handful of men, some of whom had “turned mad and idiots”. The most extraordinary part of the voyage was still to come, for despite his losses Anson was determined to seize the treasure galleon that made the annual voyage from Acapulco to Manila. Laden with Peruvian silver, she was the “Prize of all the Oceans”. In June 1743 Anson intercepted the Nuestra Señora de Covadonga, and in a 90-minute action forced her surrender. After refitting at Canton he returned home the next year to find himself compared with Drake, and his exploits with the long-remembered feats of arms against the Spain of Philip II. The casualties were forgotten as the public celebrated a rare triumph in a drab and interminable war [...], and in 1748 the long-awaited authorised account appeared under the name of Richard Walter, chaplain on the Centurion, and became a best-seller. Walter’s volume has formed the basis of all accounts of Anson’s voyage from the mid-eighteenth century to the present. The book, more fully illustrated than any similar work up to that time, was both a stirring story of adventure at sea and an exhortation to further Pacific enterprise’ (Glyn Williams, The Prize of all the Oceans. The Triumph and Tragedy of Anson’s Voyage round the World, 1999, pp. xvii-xviii; and for the long-standing dispute over authorship see appendix I: Williams concludes that Walter may have commenced the work and saw it through the press, but Benjamin Robins, a talented and versatile mathematician and an experienced writer, was primarily responsible for its literary quality. There is, however, no doubt that Anson closely scrutinised the text and in everything except stylistic terms the narrative is Anson’s own interpretation of events).

This is a subscriber’s copy, from the collection of John Crellius whose signature appears on the title page and is listed as a subscriber on (a)1r, and is the ordinary paper issue (copies were also issued on large (‘royal’) paper).

Alden 748/225; Borba de Moraes p. 38; Hill 1817; Kroepelien 1086; Sabin 101175.

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