New Haven: S. Babcock, .
First American edition, second issue (with Preface dated 1845). Wood-engraved title vignette and border, 8 wood-engraved plates. 64 pp. 12mo. Shipwrecked in the Torres Strait. Publisher's yellow wrappers printed in green. Fine. Hill 869 (Preface dated 1844); not in Huntress. Provenance: John H. William (contemporary inscription, "John H. William's Book. Presented by his uncle H. Williams"). Item #309421
Early American chapbook printing of this first-hand account of the wreck of the Charles Eaton off the north coast of Australia and the subsequent capture and massacre of most of the survivors. One of the earliest juveniles to be set in Australia — though the gruesome account of murder and cannibalism hardly makes it suitable for young readers.
The Charles Eaton set sail from London in 1833 with a crew of 22 and 30 passengers, most of whom were children from the Emigration Society. After the ship was wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef at the entrance to the Torres Straights, the majority of the survivors escaped on two rafts. One of the rafts arrived on a nearby island ("Boydan"), where the survivors endured days of torment by the unfriendly natives. The islanders eventually clubbed to death all but two of the survivors, sparing William Sexton and John Ireland, who narrates the events. The two were sent to another island where they were reunited with the two young sons of Captain William Doyley of the Charles Eaton, the rest of the survivors having been murdered. Ireland and William Doyley were later traded for two bunches of bananas to natives of Murray Island, where they spent several years. They were taken in by one Dupper and his family and adopted the language and dress of the natives. After several years of life among the aborigines of Murray Island, and several missed opportunities to contact European ships, Ireland and Doyley were rescued by Captain Charles Morgan Lewis of the Isabella.
Ireland's account was first published in London 1838 and in the first American edition by Babcock in 1845. This second issue has the Preface dated 1845 (opposed to 1844 in the first) and a different cover design. A stunning, fine copy.
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