A Journal of a Voyage round the world, in His Majesty’s ship the Dolphin, commanded by the Honourable Commodore Byron. … Together with an accurate account of the seven islands lately discovered in the South Seas. By a Midshipman on board the said ship.

London: sold by A. Manson, P. Denham, W. Robertson, and F. Nicholson, n.d. [ca. 1766-69?].

Price: $1,750.00

About the item

First edition. iv, [5]-93, [1, blank] pp. 1 vols. 12mo. Modern half brown polished calf by Atkinson, Salisbury, retaining bookplate of Captain Sir Elwyn Francis Stanhope, Bart., Royal Navy. Owner signature of Nathaniel Cowrah his book, 1809. Very good copy, handsomely bound, in marbled slipcase. ESTC T213886 (3 copies: BL; Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand; University of Queensland Library, St Lucia Campus Library); OCLC adds U.C. San Diego (Hill Coll.), Peabody Essex Mus., Univ of Otago, Univ. Melbourne.

Item #317183

This Journal of the circumnavigation of the Dolphin in 1764-6 starts out as a seafaring account of travel from Plymouth to Madeira to Brazil, and the claiming of the Falkland Islands for the British crown, but on page 21 when the Dolphin rounds Cape Virgin Mary on Tierra del Fuego and the Patagonians are sighted, the text becomes an imaginary utopian narrative.
The Patagonians are described as ten feet tall, riding upon horses fifteen feet tall, and “their very old age is about two hundred and ten, when their strength fails”. There is a description of the Patagonian metropolis, “much more extensive than the greatest city in Europe, but not near so populous”. There are accounts of the education and culture of the Patagonians, of pregnancy and childrearing, their system of justice, and “their public diversions”.
The authorship is sometimes attributed to Charles Clerke who later sailed on all three of Cook’s voyages. The fantastical nature of the account of the Patagonians has largely been overlooked.

An attractively bound copy of this curious work.