An Account of a Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage by Hudson's Streights, to the Western and Southern Ocean of America ...Performed in the Year 1746 and 1747, in the Ship California.

London: Sold by Mr. Jolliffe [et al], 1748-1749.

Price: $45,000.00


About the item

First edition. Six engraved folding maps, four engraved plates. [2],vii,[1],237,[1]; [2],328,313-326,[18]pp. 8vo. Contemporary panelled calf, expertly rebacked, marbled endpapers, gilt edges. Streeter Sale 3640;l European Americana 748/54; Sabin 82549; TPL 206; JCB (3)I:872; Reese & Osborn, Struggle for North America 10.

Item #353908

A rare and important narrative of an early exploratory expedition in Hudson Bay in search of the Northwest Passage. The expedition was dispatched by the North West Committee in 1746 as part of an attempt to verify the assertions of Arthur Dobbs and Christopher Middleton in the quest for a passage. The two ships which made up the expedition examined Wager Bay and wintered at the Hudson's Bay Company's York Factory. Accounts of the voyage are found in two rival narratives published soon after the return of the expedition. Henry Ellis sailed aboard the Dobbs Galley and published his Voyage to Hudson's Bay in 1748. The present anonymous account written by "the Clerk of the California" has been variously attributed to Charles Swaine or Theodore Drage.

The present account includes important descriptions and illustrations of the manners and customs of the native Americans. Among the illustrations is a plate of an Indian in a kayak, and another shows an Indian tent and equipment. The maps comprise: The Northern Ocean; Hudson's Straits and Bay; Hudson's Streights and Bay, of Davis Streights, and Baffin's Bay; The West and North-West parts of Hudson's Bay; Hudson's Bay according to the discoveries in the years 1746 & 1747; Chart for the better understanding of De Font's letter.

Streeter describes this anonymously authored work, which is rarely seen on the market, as a "significant item in the literature relating to attempts at finding the Northwest Passage...it tells of a voyage undertaken to sustain Arthur Dobbs' claim that a northwest passage existed leading from Hudson's Bay." The outcome was to prove the opposite.

TPL and Sabin call for only five maps, although some copies, such as the present, contain six. An important early account of American exploration.