EVANS, Leent. The First and Last Voyage of the Sea Cadet: A Simple Nautical Narrative. L[eent]. E[vans]. "But suffer winds, and sunny isles draw near - With gilded clouds that float at rest: And spirits rise - as tho' some spell were there To wake the thoughts the soul loves best." .
8vo., (7 x 4 6/8 inches). Graphite and colour wash portrait of the Sea Cadet, manuscript title-page decorated with coronet, vignette and British flags. Address [i--iii], blank[iv-vi], "The Cadet" [vii-ix], blank [x], -98, [99-100 partially excised], Notes 101-112, [113-137]. with 12 exceptionally fine full-page original watercolour drawings of places along the voyage, from the Isle of Wight to Sydney Australia, one in grisaille; with 76 vignettes in the text, 40 in grisaille, and 36 in colour, of iconic places and natural history specimens of the voyage. Original full straight-grained morocco, gilt (front hinge weak, scuffed).
Provenance: inscribed on the verso of the front free endpaper: "This Book was Wrote by My Friend Leent Evans. C.J.F.
A moving, unpublished verse narrative describing the last voyage, from Cowes in the Isle of Wight to Sydney, Australia, and back, of the young Cadet son of the author, in the early 1840s. Clearly based on letters the boy wrote home, and specimens brought back from the voyage with him. Sadly the boy died as a result of conditions aboard ship on the return journey home. The work can be dated by one of the notes at the end of the book, note 4, to 1844: On the 5th day of February 1816 the House of Commons voted a grant for the erection of a monument to commemorate the services rendered to the Navy [by Lord Nelson] - where is it in the year 1844? - where? Who answers?"
The original watercolour drawings are very fine and detailed. The full-page illustrations include images from the voyage, and from the Cadet's childhood: Norris & Seymour Castle near Cowes; the Club House at Cowes; Portland; Funchal Madeira; Funchal Madeira; the Governor's House, Funchal; the Loo Rock in 1821 (grisaille); The Island of Teneriffe. 90 miles!; Orotavo; the Mill Stream, Lock's Mills; Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, New South Wales; and the Anchorage at Sydney N.S.W.
Of the many vignettes throughout the work, those that are captioned include: The Goodwin Sands, and the Downs; Brighton-Beachy Head; Dunnose-Culver Cliffs-Isle of Wight; the Yacht; Carisbrook; the Noodles; Hurst Castle; St. Alban's Head; Portland; Berry Head; the Start; the Ram Head-Edystone-Plymouth; the Lizard, E by N, as seen when refraction had apparently lifted the head; the Dodman NW- the distance this land makes insular; St. Michael's Mount; The Land's End-Tolvan-Perwyth-St. Buryan; the Longships; the Loggan Stone; St. Agnes, Scilly, NE by E; the Physalis (jellyfish - colour); Fucus Natans or Gulf-weed of Sailor (colour); Medusa (jellyfish - colour); Porto Santo; Madeira; The Desertas, South; Cape Lorenzo; the Brazen Nose; the Loo Rock in 1810; Appearance of the Salvages at a few miles distance; The Peak of Teneriffe, 40 miles (colour); the Orange (colour); Palma; Isle of St. Antonio Cape Verde, 1848; the Dragon Tree of the Canary, and Cape Verde Isles; the blue shark (colour); the Coryphene, or Dolphin of the Sailors (colour); The double winged Flying fish (colour); The whale; The Tropic Bird (colour); the North Pole Star (colour); the Southern Cross (colour); The Albatross (colour); the Flying Dutchman; Dispositions of the Hurricane (colour); Hurricane; St. Paul, South Atlantic (colour); and North Head Sydney.
There are other vignettes that are not captioned, but their subject is self-evident, and include an Emperor Penguin, identifiable butterflies, a map of Tasmania and Bass Strait, The Western Port, an emu, a kangaroo, and a Banksia flower,
The poem recounts descriptions of the Cadet's ports of call, impressions, and feelings, included in his letters home. Of particular interest are those that recount the boy's experiences in Australia, a colony still in its infancy:
"In Philip port the vessel tarried long,
And then departed for Sydney Cove;
But, in the Strait of Bass, the isles among,
To contend with wind and rain were useless,
Into Western Port the vessel ran,
To avoid much more serious distress,
And to save this wear to ship and man.
The Captain was a stranger to the Bay,
And knew little of the dangers there,
But observing a vessel bear away
To gain the Rock, follow'd without fear.
Bass Strait has some celebrity attach'd;
And tho' wide, hath dangers here and there.
In an old whale-back which he had patch'd,
A bold wand'rer found a passage here.
His name, as tribute due, the Strait now bears..
"The Western Port, as I have said, was gain'd.
It appear'd a wild romantic place,Where Nature's primeval order reign'd,
With nought to mar her unrival'd grace.
When the adverse wind and weather had past,
The bark for Sydney push'd her way;
The youth on the lone coast a kind look cast,
and wav'd farewell to the refuge Bay.
Rounding the most southern promontory,
And passing Furneaux and other isles,
The gallant Bark was once more at Sea;
But Sydney still distant many miles.
At length she pass'd Cape Howe, a noted head:
Alack, the Murumbidgee's range-
A mountain track, on this sea-bound spread,
Affording an arguable change.
They pas'd the famous Botany Bay;
The run thence to Port Jackson was short;
And up its haven's length, with spiritis gay,
Our voyager's gain'd at length their port.