PORTLOCK, Nathaniel (1748-1817). A Voyage Round the World. London: John Stockdale and George Goulding, 1789.

$ 15,000.00

PORTLOCK, Nathaniel (1748-1817). A Voyage Round the World; but more particularly to the North-West Coast of America: Performed in 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, in the King George and Queen Charlotte, Captains Portlock and Dixon. London: John Stockdale and George Goulding, 1789.

4to., (12 x 9 2/8 inches). Engraved frontispiece portrait, large folding engraved map of the Northwest Coast of America by J. Reid, 5 further folding maps and 13 full-page plates and maps (some minor offsetting, page 181 with closed tear crossing the text). Contemporary calf (worn)


First edition. In May of 1785 Portlock was appointed by the King George's Sound Company to command the King George and an expedition to the north-west coast of North America. "She sailed from Gravesend on 29 August 1785, in company with the smaller ship Queen Charlotte, commanded by George Dixon. On 19 July 1786 they arrived at Cook Inlet and, after some stay there, ranged along the coast, sighted Mount St Elias, and on 29 September sailed for the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands. There they wintered, and returned to the north-west coast of North America in March 1787. When winter approached they again sought the Sandwich Islands, and, after having refitted there and refreshed the men, both ships sailed separately for Macau where they arrived in November 1787. In February of the following year they made for England, the King George reaching Dover on 24 August 1788. With Dixon, Portlock published "A Voyage Round the World, but More Particularly to the North-West Coast of America" [as here] in 1789. Though rich in geographical results, the voyage was primarily intended to advance the fur trade, in which object it was fully successful.  In 1791 Portlock was appointed with Captain William Bligh to command the Assistant brig, going out as tender to the Providence, which had been ordered to the Pacific to bring breadfruit plants to the West Indies. During this second breadfruit voyage Portlock made many discoveries in company with Bligh during the passage through the south Pacific Ocean, especially Fiji. The ships returned to England in August 1793, and on 4th November Portlock was promoted to the rank of commander" (J. K. Laughton, rev. Barry M. Gough for DNB).  

Portlock's descriptions of the Indians and Russians he encountered "broaden the perspective" (Hill) of Dixon and Beresford's accounts. Portlock, who took part in Cook's Third Voyage to the Pacific, also includes an account of Cook's death as described to him  by a Hawaiian who was witness to it. Bell P-365; Forbes 177; Hill 1376; Howes P-497; Lada-Mocarski 42; Mitchell Library Cook 2453; Sabin 64389; Wagner Northwest Coast 738.