Voyages made in the years 1788 and 1789 from China to the north west coast of America : to which are prefixed an introductory narrative of a voyage performed in 1786 from Bengal in the ship Nootka, observations on the probable existence of a north west
Voyages made in the years 1788 and 1789 from China to the north west coast of America : to which are prefixed an introductory narrative of a voyage performed in 1786 from Bengal in the ship Nootka, observations on the probable existence of a north west...
(11 3/8 x 9 1/4 inches). 5pp. list of subscribers. 27 engraved, stipple or aquatint plates and maps (comprising: 1 stipple-engraved portrait frontispiece of Meares by C. Bestland after Sir William Beechey, 3 folding engraved maps, 7 engraved charts, 5 aquatint coastal profiles], 3 portraits [1 aquatint, 2 engraved], 8 views [7 aquatints, 3 of these folding]). Expertly bound to style in half 18th century russia over contemporary marbled paper covered boards, flat spine in six compartments, black morocco lettering piece in the second compartment, the others with a repeat overall decoration in gilt The first edition of "one of the fundamental books on the Northwest coast of America in general and on Alaska in particular" (Lada-Mocarski). "Meares made two fur trading voyages to the Northwest Coast. The first, sponsored by Bengal merchants, included the ships Nootka and Sea Otter, which sailed from Calcutta on March 2, 1786. On this voyage Meares reached Alaska and visited Kodiak but was continually frustrated by the presence of the Russians. On the northwest coast he met Portlock and Dixon. In June 1787 he sailed to Hawaii and continued on to Canton, taking with him the Hawaiian chief Kiana (whose portrait is included among the plates). On the Nootka, Meares again arrived at Hawaii August 2, 1787 and departed September 2, 1787. Meares returned to Hawaii as master of the Felice, [the renamed Nootka ], October 18 and departed October 26, 1788. Meares' second voyage to the American coast (1787-1788) was to alter the course of history. In 1788 he determined to establish a permanent fur-trading settlement at Nootka and engaged Colnett of the Argonaut and Hudson of the Princess Royal to accompany him. Shortly after arrival in territory claimed by Spain, the ships Iphigenia, Argonaut, and Princess Royal were seized by a Spanish frigate, and the resulting action, known as the Nootka Controversy, nearly precipitated a war between England and Spain. The appendixes to this work contain letters and instructions, Dufferin's journal kept while exploring the Straits of Juan de Fuca in July 1788, and Meares' memorial to the House of Commons, May 13, 1790, claiming exclusive rights to Nootka and the prior raising of the British Flag. Meares' account was central to British claims to the Northwest Territory and led to the convention by which Spain's claim was finally disallowed" (Forbes I, pp.157-158). The work is noted for its fine illustrations, including aquatint views of Macao, Nihoa (Hawaii) and the Northwest coast of America, as well as important maps. As often, this copy is without the plate titled "Views of the Land on the Philippine Islands." Abbey Travel II 594; Cordier Sinica 2103; Hill (2004) 1126; Howes M469; Howgego M-86; Sabin 47260 (26 plates); Staton & Tremaine 612); Streeter sale VI: 3491; Wagner Northwest Coast 758, 758a, 759-766.
"First edition, 4to, pp. vii, , , xcv, , 372, ; stipple-engraved portrait frontispiece, 3 folding maps, 24 plates and charts (some folding); includes the folding plate of the Philippines which is not present in all copies; bound in full mottled calf, blindstamped on front and back boards with raised bands on spine, gilt tooling and spine label; text clean, occasional mild tanning or offsetting to plates. “One of the early and fundamental books on the Northwest coast of America...In addition to his voyages from China to America in 1788 and 1789, which form the principal part of this work, Captain Meares also describes his earlier voyage to the northwest coast from Bengal” (Lada-Mokarski 46). ""This narrative is a most important work. It was on these discoveries by Meares that the claim of the British to Oregon mainly depended. In the treaty between England and Spain which followed the Nootka affair the Spanish claims were disallowed, and the Spanish withdrew. Subsequently, in the arbitration of the Oregon question, England finally yielded to the United States much territory claimed under the discoveries made by Meares"" (Cowan). During this second voyage, Meares assembled the Northwest America, the first ship to be launched in northern waters. He explored the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Port Cox, and Port Effingham, and narrowly missed discovering the Columbia River, which he observed but named Deception Bay. His discoveries were the basis for Britain's claims on the northwest. Spain's seizure of Meares' ships and disputation of his claim brought about the famed Nootka Sound Controversy, which nearly resulted in war between the two countries. This account “also gives a full account of the Indian nations of Northwest America, describing their villages, languages, manners, and customs” (Hill). “One of the early and fundamental books on the Northwest coast of America...In addition to his voyages from China to America in 1788 and 1789, which form the principal part of this work, Captain Meares also describes his earlier voyage to the northwest coast from Bengal” (Lada-Mokarski). Cowan (1914), p. 152; Forbes 201 (one of Meares's ships sailed on to Hawaii); Hill 1126; Howes M-469: ""Pioneer English voyage to this coast""; Lada-Mokarski 46; Streeter 3491."
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