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The first Englishman to set foot on the Australian mainland

Title
A New Voyage Round the World Describing particularly, the Isthmus of America, several Coasts and Islands in the West Indies, the Isle of Cape Verd, the Passage by Terra del Fuego, the South Sea Coasts of Chili, Peru and Mexico... [with:] Voyages and Descriptions... [and:] A Voyage to New Holland, &c. In the Year, 1699 [and:] A Continuation of a Voyage to new Holland...
Author
DAMPIER, William; and MOLL, Herman
Publisher
Printed for James Knapton, at the Crown in St Paul's Church-yard,
Publication place
London,
Publication date
1697, 1699, 1703 and 1709.
Price
£34,000
Reference
14840

Description

First editions, four volumes, octavo, (186 by 114mm). Volume I: five engraved maps, including a folding double-hemisphere map of the world by Herman Moll, and three more folding; II: three folding maps; III: one folding map and 14 plates; IV: one folding map and 15 plates, uniformly bound in full calf, gilt.

Collation
Volume 1: A-I(8), K-U(8), X-Ii(8), Kk-Mm(8), Nn(4); [10], vi, 550, [4] pages.
Volume 2: A(4), B-I(8), K-M(8), N(4), Aa-Hh(8), Ii(4), Aaa-Ggg(8), A(4), a(4), B(4), b(4), C(4), c(4), D(4), d(4), E(4), e(2); [8], 184, 132, [4], 112, [76] pages.
Volume 3: A(8), a(4), B-I(8), K-M(8), A-I(8), K-O(8); [24], 162, [14], [16], 198, [10] pages.

Notes

William Dampier's account of his privateering voyages, including his voyages to 'New Holland', when he was the first Englishman to visit the Australian mainland, and his accounts of all three of his circumnavigations of the world, the first person to do so.

Dampier (1651-1715) "combined a swashbuckling life of adventure with pioneering scientific achievements" (Preston and Preston). His privateering career began with a stint in the Royal Navy, after which he joined a privateering expedition led by Captain Bartholomew Sharp in Jamaica. In 1685, he joined an expedition led by Captain John Cook which adventured along the east coast of Spanish America. The expedition met with Captain Charles Swan, a reluctant pirate whose crew had forced him to turn to privateering, and continued to write letters to the owners of his ship in London asking them for help throughout his raids. Dampier and Swan joined forces attacking Spanish shipping, and then set off to the East Indies on his first circumnavigation. The voyage was difficult, and Dampier writes that the mutinous crew were planning to kill the officers to eat them when supplies ran out. Swan "made a seasonable jape on the occasion of his hearing this. "Ah, Dampier," he said, "you would have made them but a poor Meal". Dampier explains that he was "as lean as the Captain was lusty and fleshy."

Swan remained in the Indies but Dampier continued to New Holland (Australia, only recently known to Europeans). He noted the size of the landmass, and made a survey, becoming the first recorded Englishman to set foot on the Australian mainland. After being voluntarily marooned in the Nicobar Islands, Dampier eventually made his way back to England in 1691. His first travel account was published in 1697, and caught the attention of Admiralty, who commissioned Dampier to return to New Holland the following year.

The voyage was not a success. The crew were suspicious of their former pirate captain, and the ship, HMS Roebuck, was unsound. The first lieutenant, George Fisher, clashed with Dampier from the moment the ship left England, and Dampier eventually had him put ashore and imprisoned in Brazil. They reached New Holland successfully, and explored the area a little further, but the crew was hit by scurvy. The Roebuck finally sank off the Ascension Islands, and the crew had to make their own passage back to England. When he returned in 1701, Dampier was court-martialled for his treatment of Fisher.

Dampier's second circumnavigation was a privateering expedition of two ships to the South Seas in 1703, during the War of the Spanish Succession. He faced problems during the voyage again, being accused of keeping the ransom from Spanish ships to himself. Alexander Selkirk was a member of this expedition, and was voluntarily marooned in the Juan Fernandez Islands because he did not trust the seaworthiness of one of the vessels. He was the partial inspiration for the story of 'Robinson Crusoe'.
Dampier was part of the expedition that rescued Selkirk in 1709, during his third and final circumnavigation, which was a much more successful plundering trip through the South Pacific.

As mentioned, Dampier's journals were first published in 1697, after his first circumnavigation. The work was a sensation, with six editions printed by 1729. After his subsequent voyages, his publisher James Knapton encouraged him to write sequels. The present books are the first editions of each of his works.

Dampier was not just a privateer but "a pioneering navigator, naturalist, travel writer and explorer, as well as hydrographer who was, indeed, quite happy to seek his fortune as a pirate" (Preston and Preston). His works included scientific information alongside the tales of his daring exploits, and consequently they are often included with the publications of more explicitly scientific expeditions.

Dampier mapped the winds and currents of the world's oceans for the first time, and his notes on the fauna of the Galapagos Islands inspire Charles Darwin's research there nearly two centuries later.

The frontispiece map of the world is signed by Herman Moll (?1654-1732), and the other maps that illustrate Dampier's voyages are also either by or after him. Moll, an émigré cartographer and engraver active in London, was in the same social circle as Dampier and other buccaneers, like Woodes Rogers. His relationships with these adventurers provided him with the latest geographic information, particularly from the south Pacific and Indian Oceans. He also provided the maps for Rogers's 'A Crusing Voyage Round the World' (1712), Daniel Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe' (1719), and the imaginary maps in Jonathan Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels' (1726).

Bibliography

Cox I, 42; Hill 417, 419, 420, 421; Diana and Michael Preston, A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: the life of William Dampier, (Doubleday, 2004).