Voyages and Travels from Reg and Philip Remington
By Michael Stillman
Reg and Philip Remington of St. Albans in the UK have issued their 37th catalogue of Voyages and Travels. This catalogue offers a wide range of such books. You will find everything from a complete set of Captain Cook's three voyages to those of adventurers whose names you probably never heard before. There is a British edition of Lewis and Clark, but there are also obscure, though challenging, round the world sea voyages. Such circumnavigations were still taking place in the early 18th century, and conditions and technology were not that far advanced from what famed explorers like Cook or even Magellan experienced. However, since most of the world had been at least modestly explored and "discovered" by Europeans at that point, these explorers rarely achieved "firsts" or fame. The result is they are not well remembered, though their journeys may have been as difficult and exciting as those of their predecessors. Here is a collection of exciting travels and those who collect within this area will find the Remingtons' latest catalogue an outstanding resource.
Captain A.J. von Krusenstern was not the first to circumnavigate the world, but despite his Germanic name, he led the first Russian expedition to so traverse the Earth. Among his officers was Kotzebue, noted for later Alaskan and Pacific Northwest expeditions. Among the many places visited were China, Japan and Brazil. Part of his assignment was to survey California for a possible Russian settlement and fully study the northwest coast of America. Item 8 in this catalogue is the 1813 first English edition of his account, Voyage Round the World, 1803-1806. Priced at £7,500 (British pounds, or approximate US equivalent of $13,876).
Baron von Langsdorff accompanied Krusenstern on his voyage, but got off at Alaska in 1805 to study the Russian-American Company on behalf of the Czar. In 1806, he traveled to San Francisco for supplies, and provides what is reported to be one of the best descriptions of the town and surrounding areas at this time. He also relates his journey along the Pacific coast, and his return trip across Siberia to St. Petersburg. The title is Voyages and Travels in Various Parts of the World, 1803-07. Item 9. £8,500 (US $15.725).
Everyone knows of Captain William Bligh's unsuccessful attempt to import breadfruit trees from Tahiti to the Caribbean. Bligh captained the His Majesty's Armed Vessel the Bounty, only to find his crew somewhat displeased with his leadership. The result was the most famous mutiny ever on the seas. Among the many inappropriate deeds done by the mutineers was the throwing overboard of the breadfruit tree saplings Bligh had collected. What is little remembered is that a couple of years later, after Bligh's harrowing escape and return to England, he set out again on the Providence to transport breadfruit trees from the Pacific. This time, he was successful. Nevertheless, his unsuccessful voyage remains the one we all know. The Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce had offered a reward for the successful transport of breadfruit trees, and Bligh's successful journey is written up in the 1794 edition of their Transactions of the Society (pages 305-307). Item 66. £650 (US $1,201).