Proceedings of the Expedition to explore the Northern Coast of Africa, from Tripoly eastward; in 1821 and 1822

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Author: Beechey Frederick William (1796-1856) and Henry William Beechey

Year: 1828

Publisher: John Murray

Place: London


xxiv+572+xliii+[v ad] pages with folding map, 8 plans, 13 aquatint plates (1 folding and 2 hand-colored) and errata slip. Quarto (11 1/2" x 8 1/2") bound in original publisher's grey boards with original label to spine. (Abbey Travel 305; Dawson, pp. 111-115) First edition.

Frederick William Beechey was a naval officer, artist, explorer, hydrographer, and author. In 1818 the British navy renewed attempts to discover a northwest passage to the Pacific, suspended since the discoveries of James Cook. In January of that year Beechey was appointed as second in command and chief draftsman to the brig Trent, commanded by Lieutenant John Franklin. With the barque Dorothea, the Trent formed an expedition under Captain David Buchan with orders from the Admiralty to search for a passage “by a northern course across the Pole.” Leaving the Thames on 25 April, the Trent and the Dorothea sailed northwest of Spitsbergen as far as 80°34´N where they became jammed in the ice. After three weeks the two crews finally succeeded in freeing the vessels, and the expedition headed west towards Greenland. Unfortunately heavy gales forced the ships hard against the ice, seriously damaging the Dorothea; despite repairs, the expedition finally had to be abandoned. Both ships reached Deptford on the Thames safely on 22 October. Beechey later prepared a narrative of this expedition, A voyage of discovery towards the North Pole (1843), in which six reproductions of sketches he had done while in the Arctic were printed. Because of his experience and demonstrated skills in navigation and sketching, Beechey was attached during the years 1821 and 1822 to a survey of the coast of northern Africa, an account of which he later published with his brother Henry William, a civilian member of the expedition. On 25 Jan. 1822, while on this survey, Beechey was promoted to the rank of commander. In 1821, under Captain William Henry Smith he sailed in the Adventure sloop, Henry W. Beechey, in conducting overland a survey of the North Coast of Africa, he set out from Tripoli for that purpose. The results of his researches, which extended as far eastward as Derna, and lasted until 25 July, 1822, are fully detailed by Beechey and his brother in Proceedings of the Expedition to explore the Northern Coast of Africa from Tripoli eastward, in 1321-2; a comprehending an account of the Greater Syrtis and Cyrenaica, and of the ancient Cities composing the Pentapolis.


Very slight pale spotting, mostly marginal. Publisher's grey boards uncut, expertly rehinged, a few chips at spine ends and to label. Provenance: Sir Joseph Radcliffe, Bart., Rudding Park (armorial bookplate) else a very good copy.

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