Account of a Voyage of Discovery to the West Coast of Corea, and the Great Loo-Choo Island; with Two Charts

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Author: Hall, Basil (1788-1844)

Year: 1818

Publisher: Printed and Published by Abraham Small

Place: Philadelphia

Description:

iv+[5]-201+[2 ad] pages with two frontispiece maps. Royal octavo (9 1/2" x 6 1/4") bound in half leather with red label in gilt to spine over marbled boards and deckle edges. First American edition.

Basil Hall was a British naval officer from Scotland, a traveler, and an author. He was the second son of Sir James Hall, 4th Baronet, an eminent man of science. Although his family home was at Dunglass, Haddingtonshire (now East Lothian), Basil Hall was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. He was educated at the Royal High School and joined the Royal Navy in 1802, being commissioned a Lieutenant in 1808, and later rising to the rank of Captain. Hall commanded many vessels involved in exploration and scientific and diplomatic missions. Hall explored Java in 1813 and as a part of a diplomatic mission to China under Lord Amherst in 1816 undertook surveys of the west coast of Korea and the outlying Ryukyu Islands of Japan.From the beginning of his naval career he had been encouraged by his father to keep a journal, which later became the source for a series of books and publications describing his travels. These included Account of a Voyage of Discovery to the West Coast of Corea and the Great Loo-Choo Island in the Japan Sea (1818), which was one of the first descriptions of Korea by a European. Not only Korea was visited but also the Ryukyu Archipelago by the Alceste and Lyra, they obtained detailed information on the area. The Europeans in the past had explored Korea only briefly. On the way home the Alceste was wrecked in the Gaspar Strait of Sumatra. Although Captain William Broughton, the first British visitor to Korea, had published an account of his experiences in 1804, A Voyage of Discovery to North Pacific Ocean, his book had little influence, whereas Hall’s publication seems not only to have been timely in terms of catching the public imagination, but his wide-ranging interests and acute observational skills rendered his account of lasting value.

Condition:

Preliminary pages foxed, including the maps, previous owner's name in old ink script to title else a very good copy.


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