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Naval – Military – Pre-20th Century

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  • Mercator’s World – Anson’s Voyage

    Mercator’s World – Anson’s Voyage

    Volume 3 No 6 of Mercator’s World published in 1998.

    Our favourite features is “Victory at Sea – How George Anson Became Leader of the British Navy”. Having said that, we do not like the title as he became the “Father” of the Royal Navy for many reasons, albeit including the incredible circumnavigation and stealing of the Spanish gold, the story of this feature.

    An eight page article nicely illustrated, mostly from images and maps out of the official account. The charming engraving “England’s glory. Wagons heading into the Tower of London with the Spanish treasure” is a very rare engraving the originator unknown.

    Provides fresh insight into the voyage particularly as you would expect concerning the charts and the route taken and the mistakes made and bad luck encountered. It is a lesson in the difficulties had before the problem of the longitude was solved by Harrison’s chronometer.

    Other articles include quite a bit on underwater surveying … Davy Jones Locker etc and Portlan reflection a good one on early sea charts.

    Mercator’s ideas and views on the Anson Voyage.

    $24.00

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  • Original Watercolour – Lt Janvarin Grassie R.N. – New South Wales – 1876

    Original Watercolour – Lt Janvarin Grassie R.N. – New South Wales – 1876

    A delightful Australian School watercolour … a Woman Bathing by a Lake 32cm by 21cm. External frame dimensions. 50cm by 39cm. Lovely palette and a charming naivety.

    Matted and framed by upmarket London Picture Framers, Restorers and Guilder with their label on the back. Slight hints of age but still in very good condition.

    The artist date and location nicely noted lower left and right on the mat. Decorative lines drawn to mat with lovely choice of fill colouring.

    After reasonable research we have not come up with anything on the artist nor any obvious record in the Royal Navy.

    Nice Australian watercolour from the 1870’s – Artist named but little known about him.

    $590.00

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  • Log of the Centurion – The Anson Voyage – The Log of Saumarez – Leo Heaps

    Log of the Centurion – The Anson Voyage – The Log of Saumarez – Leo Heaps

    The great Anson circumnavigation of the mid-18th century to basically steal as much Spanish gold – as possible (successful in that regard). This book based on the papers of Captain Saumarez and an essential part of the incredible story that makes up this historic adventure.

    Based on the original papers of Captain Philip Saumarez on Board HMS Centurion, Lord Anson’s flagship during his circumnavigation 1740-44.

    The four Saumarez logs have not been previously published or referenced. They had been lost for year until found in the 1960’s in a cardboard box along with letter and other documents at the Saumerez manor in the Channel Islands.

    Published by Macmillan, New York a first edition 1974.Large octavo, 264 pages, world map end papers showing the track of the fleet, numerous illustrations from original works, some in colour. A very good copy.

    While Great Britain was at war with Spain in 1740, Commodore George Anson led a Squadron of eight ships on a mission to harass the Spaniards on the west coast of South America and cut off their supplies of wealth from the Pacific.

    “Returning to England in 1744 by way of China and thus completing a circumnavigation, the voyage was notable for the capture of the gold laden Acapulco Galleon but also for the loss of all ships except Anson’s Centurion and horrific losses to disease with only 300 of the original 900 surviving.

    Anson’s voyage is remembered as a classic tale of endurance and leadership in the face of fearful disasters, but to Englishmen of 1744 it was the treasure of the galleon, triumphantly paraded through the streets of London, which restored national pride after an unsuccessful war against the Spaniards.”

    Saumerez another perspective on Anson

    $40.00

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  • The Life of Captain James Cook – J.C. Beaglehole

    The Life of Captain James Cook – J.C. Beaglehole

    Published by Adam & Charles Black, London 1974 a first of this issue having been previously published by the Hakluyt Society.

    Large “royal” octavo, 760 pages with 4 sketch maps, 1 foldout map, 4 coloured plates and 67 black and white illustrations. Slight sunning of dust jacket spine and hint of foxing as often the case. A very good copy. A heavy book that will require an Overseas postage supplement.

    Many would agree the best authority on James Cook. John Beaglehole wrote the definitive analysis of James Cook’s three monumental voyages published by the Hakluyt Society. Likewise, this book, on the man himself, is a superb digestible (albeit 700+ pages) account and a must for Cook admirers with a thirst for knowledge.

    Best “Cook Book” by far …

    $90.00

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  • Manuscript Letter (A Complaint) from Sir Erasmus Ommanney (First to Find Evidence of Franklin) to Hepworth Dixon (Notable Literary Identity) – 14th May 1870

    Manuscript Letter (A Complaint) from Sir Erasmus Ommanney (First to Find Evidence of Franklin) to Hepworth Dixon (Notable Literary Identity) – 14th May 1870

    Erasmus Ommanney (1814-1904) was an extraordinary individual from one of those sorts of families. He was born in 1824 seventh son of Sir Francis Molyneux Ommanney. In 1836 he went to Baffin’s Bay with Sir James Ross … he was second in command on the Franklin searching expedition and was the first to find traces of Franklin’s ships in 1850. He travelled over 500 miles on sledge to find the Franklin traces at Beechey Island. During this adventure he gathered much geographical information.

    In 1854, on commencement of the Crimean War, he commanded a Squadron in the White Sea and engaged a Russian flotilla off the mouth of the Dwin that year … later the Committee at the Royal Geographical Society … Royal Society, Royal Astronomical society (Observed the transit of Venus at Luxor in 1874)… Knighted etc for Arctic services.

    The recipient possibly equally well known in literary circles, historian and traveller Hepworth Dixon (1821-1879). A controversial writer at that. He was active in organising London’s Great Exhibition of 1851.

    Two pages in a strong clear hand from 6 Talbot Square … a nice London address. Marked clearly Private. Erasmus is obviously not happy … he had previously written to Hepworth Dixon and clearly provided some personal information about his naval conduct (about which we believe he had been criticised … he was pretty heavy handed in the White Sea) and Dixon had published these “private letter” in the press.

    “I was at the point of replying to your last note when I was surprised to find you had published my letters to you in the Newspapers, I believe it is always customary on such occasions first to obtain the sanction of the writer”

    Erasmus goes on … “My object in criticising your representations of my conduct at Solaretet was simply to induce you to add … comments, in your next edition of “Free Russia” … to show that your countrymen were justified in punishing … and that we did not bombard a defenceless … ; and I was going to enquire that you would not publish my [this] letter but evenly take the substance of my information for your guidance”

    Erasmus continues … not happy … “ As you have published my letters in the daily papers I must abide by the unpleasant announcements of the press, – there are various considerations to be dwelt on before an Officer writes on matters of a national and public nature in the newspapers; and in the present instance my letters should not have appeared.”

    Erasmus turns up the heat … “As you have forwarded a copy of your work to the Emperor of Prussia, I have greater cause to feel dissatisfied with you colouring of my conduct in the Solowitch affair, which on the while I fear injurious to my reputation. I hope that the subject will not appear again in the papers”

    Cranky letter from Victorian Naval hero and Adventurer who has had his reputation challenged in the Press

    $180.00

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  • Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland; from the dissolution of the last Parliament of Charles II till the Capture of the French and Spanish Fleets at Vigo – Three Volumes – Sir John Dalrymple -1790

    Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland; from the dissolution of the last Parliament of Charles II till the Capture of the French and Spanish Fleets at Vigo – Three Volumes – Sir John Dalrymple -1790

    A new edition 1790 updating his first offering about twenty year earlier that finished at the time of the sea battle of La Hogue. Published by Strahan & Cadell, Bell, Creech & Balfour, London and Edinburgh, 1790.

    Three volumes, octavo, a beautiful set in contemporary mottled calf, banded spine with red morocco title label and green morocco volume number lozenge. Almost edible.

    A vert attractive set of an important work with original owner name Alexander Fraser Tyler, a distinguished Scottish Advocate at the head of the title.

    Sir John Dalrymple (1726-1810) was the 4th Baron of Cousland and Scottish Advocate, Judge and Chemist. He studied at Edinburgh and Cambridge and was a friend of David Hume and Adam Smith. In writing this large work he had access numerous original manuscript documents.

    Of Australian interest the volumes contain … “An Account of an Intended Expedition in the South Seas by Private Persons in the Late War” which relates to Sir John Dalrymple’s attempts to persuade merchants of Glasgow to organise a privateering expedition against Spain in the Pacific. There are numerous references to New Holland and the discoveries of James Cook.

    Because of these early Australian references these volumes are included in Ferguson’s bibliography of all books Australian at number 78.

    Important 18th Century memoir in fine style with Australian interest and important provenance.

    About the first owner Alexander Tytler

    Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouslee (1747-1813) was a Scottish advocate, judge, writer who serve as Professor of Universal History, Greek and Roman Antiquities at Edinburgh University. In 1790, around the time he purchased these volumes, he became Judge Advocate of Scotland and in 1802 he became a Lord of Session in the Scottish Courts. He was a friend of Robert Burns and famously persuaded Burns to remove several lines from “Tam o’Shanter”’ which had insulted the legal profession.

    $690.00

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