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BEECHEY, F. W.

Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering’s Strait,

to Co-Operate with the Polar Expeditions: Performed in His Majesty's Ship Blossom ... in the years 1825, 26, 27, 28.

Published: London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1831

Stock code: 60152

Price: £3,500

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First octavo edition, same year as the Admiralty edition in quarto, of “one of the most valuable of modern voyages”(Hill). Beechey’s expedition went to the Bering Strait “As a relief expedition to await the separate expeditions of Captains Franklin and Parry”. Beechey heard at Kamchatka that Parry had turned back, but he waited at Kotzebue Sound for Franklin through the summers of 1827-8. “Near Point Barrow, Alaska, Beechey and Franklin had arrived within fifty leagues of each other, when the latter was compelled by the weather to turn back.” Also described are visits to Pitcairn Island, Tahiti, Alaska, Hawaii, Macao, Okinawa, and the coast of California. On Pitcairn, Beechey met the last survivor of the Bounty mutiny, John Adams. “He also gives an important account of Monterey and San Francisco before the American conquest.” Beechey rose to rear-admiral, and undertook a survey of the coast of Ireland in 1836-47. “From 1850 until his death he was superintendent of the marine department of the Board of Trade; he was consulted on all Arctic issues, including the search for Sir John Franklin by the Arctic council… In 1855 he was elected president of the Royal Geographical Society, an office which he still held at his death, on 29 November 1856 … Beechey was an outstanding professional hydrographer who served in the last years of heroic endeavour, and lived to publish the results of his scientific observations on tides” (ODNB).

2 volumes, octavo (213 136 mm) Twentieth-century half calf on old marbled boards, red morocco lettering-pieces and green numbering roundels. Housed in a brown buckram slipcase. 23 engraved or lithographic plates, 2 of them folding lithographs, 2 folding maps and a folding chart. Some foxing and browning of the plates, as usual, but overall a very good set.

Bibliography: Arctic Bibliography 1227; Field 105; Hill 93; Howes B-309; Lada-Mocarski 95; Sabin 4347; Wickersham 6541.

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