A VOYAGE TOWARDS THE NORTH POLE UNDERTAKEN BY HIS MAJESTY'S COMMAND, 1773.

Phipps, Constantine John.


£3,000.00




Printed by W. Bowyer & J. Nichols for J. Nourse, Bookseller to His Majesty, in the Strand. 1st.ed., 1774. Viii + 254 pp., (11 fldg.) ; chart frontis., (fldg.), + 14 tissue-guarded engravings – views, plan, chart & diagrams – (all fldg.). Re-bound (c. 30 years ago) in half red morocco ; gilt ; raised gilt-tooled bands ; marbled boards & e.p's with gilt decorative lines to boards. 29 x 23cm. With the perforated name of an American library to plates &c., and their rubber stamps to upper & lower edges o/w no other library markings. One plate offset & some slight staining o/w a very clean, tight virtually fox-free copy in a most attractive binding. FINE. Captain Constantine John Phipps, Lord Mulgrave, second Baron, (1744-1792), entered the Royal Navy in 1760. In 1773 in command of the RACEHORSE, Bomb, 8 guns (formerly the French privateer MARQUIS DE VANDREVIL, captured in 1757, taken by the American ANDREA DORIA in 1776 but destroyed by the Royal Navy in Delaware Bay a year later) ; and the CARCASS, Bomb, 8 guns (built at Rotherhithe in 1759, sold in 1784 – the last of her name in the Navy) Phipps was charged by the Admiralty to lead a Polar Expedition towards the North Pole in search of a passage to the East Indies. Until this expedition, no further point of geography or navigation had been achieved since Baffin and Fotherby's voyages of 1614 and 1615. Phipps was ordered to see how far North he could sail but he could get no further than 80 degrees 43 minutes. However, several scientific instruments were carried onboard and various successful experiments performed including efforts to distil sea water. Today, the expedition is chiefly remembered because among the midshipmen was one Horatio Nelson and during the voyage he had his famous encounter with the bear, the skin of which young Horatio wished to carry to his father. Nelson was fortunate that Captain Lutwidge saw the danger he was in and scared the animal off by firing a cannon. The would-be hunter received a severe reprimand. In later years the story was re-told by his early biographers as an example of his courage displayed at such a tender age – although clearly, the engravers of the day had never seen a polar bear for themselves !! Phipps was captain of the RACEHORSE, and Skeffington Lutwidge was in command of the CARCASS with Nelson aboard the latter. Phipps went on to become a Lord of the Admiralty in 1777 and distinguished himself in the action off Ushant in 1778 while in command of the COURAGEUX. The illustrations for this book are by John Cleveley and D'Auvergne (afterwards Duke of Bouillon) among others. A second edition appeared in Dublin in 1775, a French edition was published in the same year, and a German edition in 1777. There was also an American edition (Philadelphia, 1810). The book contains the full Journal of the voyage, plus copious appendices describing the experiments, etc., and the work is illustrated with 15 finely engraved charts, views, plans and diagrams – all folding (11 appendix pages are also folding). Fine Binding Copy ; SCARCE. (Sabin 62572)


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