Voyages Round The World; With Selected Sketches of Voyages to the South Seas, North and South Pacific Oceans, China, Etc

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Author: Edmund Fanning (1769-1841)

Year: 1833

Publisher: Sleight & van Norden for Collins & Hannay,

Place: New York


xii+[13]-499+[3, blank] pages with lithographed frontispiece and 4 plates (2 folding).  Royal octavo (9 1/4" x 6") bound in original publisher's half green cloth over original boards with modern printed spine label. (Hill 581; Rosove 119.A1 ("scarce"); Sabin 23780; Spence 454) First edition.

Includes an account of the first American exploration to the southern hemisphere, in 1829-30. This was sponsored by the U.S. government and was under the command of Benjamin Pendleton.

Edmund Fanning was an American explorer and sea captain, known as the "Pathfinder of the Pacific."  A successful trader, Fanning made a fortune in the China trade, killing seals in the South Pacific and exchanging their skins in China for silks, spices, and tea; which he in turn sold in New York City. As master of the Betsey in 1797-1798, he discovered three South Pacific Islands — Fanning, Washington, and Palmyra — which are collectively known as the Fanning Islands. (Fanning Island, today known as Tabuaeran, is today part of Kiribati, while Palmyra, claimed by the Hawaiian Government in 1862 and owned for many years by a Hawaiian family, was purchased in 2000 by the Nature Conservancy for an ongoing study of global warming and its effect on coral reefs.)

When he discovered Palmyra Atoll, Fanning was sleeping and the ship was in command of the first mate. Fanning awoke three times in the night, and he took this as a premonition, ordering the first mate to heave to. In the morning, the ship resumed its travel and reached the reef of Palmyra in less than a mile. Had the ship continued its course at night, the entire crew might have perished.

Acting for American investors, Fanning was agent for more than 70 commercial expeditions and voyages. His partnership Fanning & Coles built the ship Tonquin in 1807, sailed her around the world several times and sold her for $37,000 to John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company. Later the Tonquin was burned by Indians in the northwest.   (Wikipedia)

The importance of Fanning’s voyages and writings is reflected in his influence upon such mariners as Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer, for whom Palmer’s Land in Antarctica is named; Captain Benjamin Pendleton, who commanded the exploring expedition that ended ignominiously in mutiny upon the Araucanian coast in the late summer of 1830; and Charles Wilkes, who was to command the very successful and important U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838 to 1842. Fanning was able to convince Congress of the importance of his ideas, which speaks to his authoritative knowledge of the position of the United States in the maritime merchant trade at the turn of the eighteenth century and the early years of the nineteenth.


Front end papers chipped at head corner, and back end papers at heal. Some spotting and staining, original cloth-backed boards, rebacked retaining original backstrip, modern printed spine label, faint staining to boards else about very good.

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