Home » Browse » Asia » WOODARD, David. - The Narrative of Captain David Woodard and Four Seamen,
return to previous page


The Narrative of Captain David Woodard and Four Seamen,

who lost their Ship while in a Boat at Sea, and surrendered themselves up to the Malays, in the Island of Celebes; containing an Interesting Account of their Sufferings ... and also an Account of the Manners and Customs of the Country, and a Description of the Harbours and Coast, &c. Together with an Introduction and an Appendix, containing Narratives of Various Escapes from Shipwrecks ... holding out a Valuable Seaman's Guide, and the Importance of Union, Confidence, and Perseverance in the Midst of Distress.

Published: London: J. Johnson, 1804

Stock code: 67655

Price: £950

Free Shipping Worldwide.

This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

First edition. “In January of 1793, Woodard sailed in the American ship Enterprise form Batavia, bound for Manila. Sent off in a boat with five others to purchase provisions from another ship, they found themselves separated from their own ship after a storm … they were forced to land on Celebes, where one of them was murdered by the Malays and the others taken into captivity. They escaped with the help of a Mohammedan priest and gradually made their way to Macassar and then back to Batavia. Included in the book is a geographical account of the island of Celebes, a brief vocabulary of the Malay language” (Hill). Woodard’s account was edited for publication by William Vaughan, a director of the Royal Exchange Assurance Corporation, promoter of the port of London, and philanthropist in the interest of the common seaman, and is dedicated to his maternal uncle, Capt. Benjamin Hallowell, one of Nelson’s “band of brothers” who served at the Battle of Nile. Vaughan was involved in trying to establish a “Society for promoting the Means of preserving Ships and Lives in Moments of Danger and Accidents”, a manifesto for which is included as an appendix, and he intended Woodard’s narrative to be “practically useful as well as interesting”, the centre-piece for the promotion of his wider cause. To this end, the main text is augmented with a series of appendices including “Lieutenant Bligh’s Narrative”; the losses of the Pandora and the Hobart; “Dr. Lind’s advice to prevent the want of provisions at Sea”; a register of “Accidents, Shipwrecks, and Escapes”; and a list of “Books useful to Seamen”, which begins with Robinson Crusoe. A very pretty copy of this interesting work.

Octavo (211 128 mm). Contemporary purple half calf on dark green seaweed sprigged cloth, tan morocco label, narrow bands with double gilt rules, compartments with concentric panels, gilt rules at spine and corner edges, all edges marbled, dun endpapers. Silhouette portrait frontispiece, folding map of the Island of Celebes, larger folding map of “the Western Part of the Island,” and a double-page plate of “the Proas, Canoes, and Implements of War of the Malays,” half-title bound in. Just a little chafed at the extremities, bookplate quite neatly removed from the front pastedown, some foxing and browning on the maps, light toning overall, but a very handsome copy.

Bibliography: Hill, p.331; Huntress 63

Don't understand our descriptions? Try reading our Glossary