PORTLOCK, Captain Nathaniel (1748-1817)

PORTLOCK, Captain Nathaniel (1748-1817)

$7,500.00Price
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


“First Edition of Portlock’s Account of his Voyage to Explore and Survey America’s Northwest Coast…Vivid Descriptions of Encounters with American Indians and the Russians”
  • PORTLOCK, Captain 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


    “First Edition of Portlock’s Account of his Voyage to Explore and Survey America’s Northwest Coast…Vivid Descriptions of Encounters with American Indians and the Russians”


    In 1785, the King George Sound Company was formed by a group of London merchants to pursue the lucrative sea otter fur trade in the Pacific Northwest, as identified during James Cook's third voyage (with which both Nathaniel Portlock and George Dixon were crew members). The venture purchased two ships, and Portlock and Dixon were appointed Captains: Portlock commanded the King George, while Dixon commanded the smaller Queen Charlotte. The expedition left Gravesend in the fall of 1785, sailed by way of Hawaii and Cook Inlet before heading to Nootka Sound, and returned to Hawaii for the winter. In 1788, the expedition met with Captain John Meares in Prince William Sound, a rival fur trader whose crew had been reduced by the ravage of scurvy and whose ships had been trapped by the winter ice. Portlock and Dixon gave assistance, but with the understanding that Meares would leave the region and sail directly for Macao, China. However, Meares resumed his trading, and did not leave until he had a sufficient cargo of furs. Portlock and Dixon would later charge that Meares was ungracious in accepting help from his rescuers. Dixon and Meares would also publish a series of exchanges on their various disagreements and criticisms, known as the Dixon-Meares controversy. Dixon sailed again for Nootka Sound where he named "Dixon's Entrance" and the "Queen Charlotte Islands," while Portlock explored the Alaskan coastline. "During my stay amongst the Russians, they were all very busily employed. Some were dressing green sea otter skins, others repairing their boats, and cleaning arms. Most of the Indians were out on a hunting party; the few left behind were busied in fitting darts to their spears, and making snuff from tobacco, of which they seem very fond, and their women in cooking and repairing canoes." During the voyage, Dixon and Portlock had accumulated a large number of fur pelts through trade with the Natives. On their return voyage to England, they stopped at Canton, and sold their furs at the markets, reaping great profits. By the summer of 1788, they were back in London, after a very successful and profitable voyage.


    London: John Stockdale and George Goulding, 1789. First Edition. Quarto, Fine, 384 pages with 14 engraved plates including frontispiece portrait of Portlock, large folding map and 5 folding charts complete. Remarkable period Tree Calf Binding with decorative gilt border and gilt edge detail. Highly decorated spine in gilt with period red Moroccan spine label. Very clean green period marbled end papers, wide margins and clean text, some typical offsetting from plates and frontispiece.


    Sabin 64389, T.W. Streeter 3485


    A Superior and Quite Handsome First Edition