Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2005 Issue

24 Travel and Other Items from Hordern House

Conduit

Unflattering cartoon makes explorer George Vancouver appear cowardly.


Some of his men found his leadership harsh. The primary source of his problem was a young member of his crew, Thomas Pitt, second Baron Camelford, whom Vancouver flogged and discharged in Hawaii for falling asleep on his watch. Item 15 is a hand-colored etching of The Caneing on Conduit Street...which depicts an enraged Pitt demanding Vancouver accept his challenge to a duel, while Vancouver is shown cowering behind another, calling for help. He is shown wearing a cloak given Vancouver as a gift from the Hawaiian King to be delivered to the British King. This image, by James Gillray, depicts a chance meeting between the two men on the street when Pitt attempted to cane his former commander. The drawing helped heap the ridicule on Vancouver which destroyed his career. AU $18,750 ($US $14,369).

Item 23 is the report of what may be the most significant voyage emanating from North America. It is the Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition...commanded by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes. Wilkes' expedition, which lasted from 1838-1842, explored much of the Pacific coast of America, retracing many of Vancouver's steps. However, the expedition may be most notable for its visits as far west as Australia, and particularly, discoveries along the Antarctic continent. These discoveries demonstrated that the United States was a significant force in the field of exploration. The 1845 six-volume narrative of the Wilkes Expedition was printed in two full-size versions, 100 copies for official presentations, and 150 copies for public use. There was also a smaller edition printed in 1,000 copies. This copy is one of the 150 public copies. AU $47,500 (US $36,399).

Matthew Flinders is of similar importance to Australia. Flinders was the first to circumnavigate and map the Australian continent. His was the first map to prominently label it "Australia." He also disproved the widely held belief that Australia was divided in two parts by a navigable waterway. Item 16 is a first edition of A Voyage to Terra Australis...published in 1814. The three volumes cover his circumnavigation aboard the Investigator plus two later voyages. AU $87,500 (US $66,985)

Hordern House is located on the internet at www.hordern.com, telephone (61-2) 9356 4411.

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