Fate of the Blenden Hall.
Bound to Bombay: with an account of her wreck, and the sufferings and privations endured by the survivors, for six months, on the desolate islands of Inaccessible and Tristan D'Acunha in lat 37° 29" South. Long. 11° 45" West. By one of the passengers, from a journal kept on the islands, and written with the blood of a penguin.New York: William H. Colyer, 1847 Stock Code: 139978
First and sole edition of this scarce shipwreck narrative, inscribed by the author "with the kind regards of the author" on the title page, the name of the recipient cut away. Accompanying this copy is a tipped-in autograph letter signed from the author and dated May 1859, presenting the book to the unknown recipient.
The Blenden Hall was a 450 ton cargo ship chartered by the British East India Company to make frequent voyages between the UK and India. Under the command of Captain Alexander Greig, who was accompanied by his son, the author, the Blenden Hall sailed for Bombay on 6 May 1821, carrying 84 passengers and crew; on 22 July a fog descended and she struck a reef off the ominously named Inaccessible Island in the South Atlantic. All but two crew members made it ashore safely, the survivors spending almost three months on the island, subsisting largely on wild celery, seal meat, and penguin, the blood of which was used by the author as ink for his journal.
Two parties were despatched to Tristan da Cunha, the nearest inhabited island, to raise the alarm. The first disappeared without a trace; the second, led by the carpenter, successfully made landfall on 3 November. The governor of Tristan da Cunha, the former Royal Artillery corporal William Glass, immediately organised a rescue party, and reached Inaccessible Island on 10 November 1821, relieving the stricken islanders over the following weeks. After staying on the island with Glass for a further two months, the majority of the crew were picked up by the merchant brig Nerina bound for the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived in Cape Town on 21 January 1822.
A report of the shipwreck was published in the Asiatic Journal in 1822 by Lieutenant John Pepper of the East India Company, who was a passenger on the Blenden Hall, however the present account is the first complete narrative of the shipwreck. The book is fairly well-represented institutionally but uncommon in commerce, having appeared only once at auction in the last 60 years.
Octavo. Original brown cloth, sometime skilfully rebacked with the original spine laid-down, titles to spine in gilt, covers panelled in blind with decorative cornerpieces, new endpapers.
Engraved frontispiece by G. Snyder.
Library shelf ticket to front pastedown. Slight lean to spine, extremities a little worn, binding firm, a few small blemishes to covers, a little foxing and offsetting to preliminaries, occasional spotting to text but generally clean, last few pages unevenly trimmed; a very good copy.
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