A Voyage Round the World; But More Particularly to the North-West Coast of America: Performed in 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, in the King George and Queen Charlotte, Captains Portlock and Dixon

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Author: Nathaniel Portlock (c1748-1817)

Year: 1789

Publisher: John Stockdale

Place: London


xii+384+xl pages with 19 plates (6 folding copper-engraved charts, and 13 copper-engraved plates). Quarto (11¼" x 9") bound modern quarter calf-backed marbled boards, raised bands on spine with gilt design, black title label with gilt lettering over marbled boards. (Forbes 177; Hill, Pacific Voyages, p.239; New Hill 1376; Howes P497; Lada-Mocarski 42; Sabin 64389; Wagner Northwest Coast 738-43) First Edition.

Nathaniel Portlock entered the Royal Navy in 1772 as an able seaman, serving in HMS St Albans. In 1776 he joined HMS Discovery as master's mate and served on the third Pacific voyage of James Cook. During the expedition, in August 1779, he was transferred to the HMS Resolution. On Cook's third voyage, furs obtained in present-day British Columbia and Alaska sold for good prices when the expedition called at Macao. In 1785 Richard Cadman Etches and partners, including Portlock and George Dixon formed a partnership, commonly called the King George's Sound Company, to develop the fur trade. Dixon had also served on Resolution in the Pacific Ocean under Cook. In September 1785 Portlock and Dixon sailed from England. Portlock was in command of the larger vessel, the 320-ton King George, with a crew of 59. Dixon's was in command of the 200-ton Queen Charlotte, with a crew of 33. Dixon and Portlock sailed together for most of their three-year voyage. They crossed the Atlantic Ocean, reaching the Falkland Islands in January 1786, and transited Cape Horn to enter the Pacific Ocean. They reached the Hawaiian islands on 24 May and anchored in Kealakekua Bay (where Cook had been killed in 1779), but did not go ashore. They took on fresh food at other Hawaiian islands and proceeded on to what is now Alaska. After two years of plying the waters, Portlock and Dixon departed North America, reaching Macao in November 1788. On their return Portlock and Dixon published an account of the voyage, based in part on letters written by William Beresford, the trader on the expedition.


Portrait frontispiece lacking. Light wear to binding with some rubbing to extremities and corners; lacking frontispiece but all other plates and maps intact, folding charts with occasional minor creasing or minuscule closed tear, offsetting to adjacent pages, scattered foxing throughout, including some charts and plates, Provenance: Hector Macdonald Buchanan of Ross Priory, Scotland, manuscript ex libris, signed and dated 1817 on preliminary blank. Sir Walter Scott was a close friend of Buchanan and a frequent visitor to Ross Priory. Overall a very solid copy; very good.

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