ALASKA, & HAWAII. - Nathaniel PORTLOCK (1748-1817) & George DIXON (1748-1795)
An Abridgement of Portlock and Dixon's Voyage Round the World, performed in the years 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788. London: Printed for John Stockdale ... and George Goulding, 1789. Octavo (8 3/8 x 4 7/8 inches; 216 x 1215mm), pp., 272 pp. Engraved title, frontispiece portrait of Kiana and 1 large folding map of the 'North West Coast of America'. (Occasional spotting. most to the first and last few leaves). Contemporary half calf over marbled paper-covered boards, spine divided into six compartments by double gilt fillets, lettered in gilt in the second compartment (joints weak and with short splits). Provenance: Edwin Sandys, 2nd Baron Sandys (1726 - 1797, armorial bookplate, nb Lord Sandys served as one of the Lords of the Admiralty in 1757).
First edition thus (“much scarcer than the original quarto edition” [Hill]), and a very fine copy from the library of an ex-Lord of the Admiralty - with the large folding map not found in all copies (according to Forbes and Hill). A quite rare abridgement of the two principal accounts of the first commercial voyage to the Northwest Coast (and the first English voyage to visit Hawaii after that of Captain James Cook).
Forbes 178; Hill (2004) 1378; Howes , Sabin 20365
"Nathaniel Portlock joined the British navy at the age of twenty-four and was a junior officer on Captain Cook's third voyage, the first to encounter Hawaii. With him on that trip was another young British officer, George Dixon. In 1785 the two men traveled to the north Pacific. Portlock commanded the 1785-1788 expedition from the ship King George while Dixon captained Queen Charlotte. The purpose of the expedition was to investigate the potential of the Alaskan fur trade and to resume Cook's search for a Northwest Passage through the continent. The pair left England on August 29, 1785, and took nearly a year to reach Alaska, rounding Cape Horn and touching at Hawaii on the way. They charted the Alaskan coast until winter forced them back to Hawaii. In the spring of 1787 they headed north again, reaching the Kenai Peninsula from which Dixon explored southward while Portlock traded for furs. They wintered again in Hawaii before turning west to China to sell their furs, arriving home in England via the Cape of Good Hope on August 24, 1788." (American Journeys, Wisconsin Historical Society, 2017).
On their return Portlock and Dixon published two separate accounts of the voyage in 1789, each titled 'A Voyage Round the World'. Portlock is considered to have been his own work and probably the more important of the two, whilst Dixon’s work was composed largely from a collection of 49 letters from a trader on the voyage, William Beresford (writing to his friend Hamlen). These letters were edited by Dixon, who also added an introduction and two appendices.