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Letter from the Cape of Good Hope in the - FIRST FLEET] - 1788. 
sold by T. Wilkie, London 1788 - Folio, eight pages measuring 220 x 290 mm. This issue of the London Chronicle dated 26-29 April 1788 contains a brief but informative dispatch from an unidentified First Fleet officer penned at the Cape of Good Hope and dated November 7 1787. Although the extract is succinct, this issue of the Chronicle represents a very early printing of news relating to the First Fleet, and effectively relays news of the Fleet en-route (although published after the landing and official settlement of New South Wales). A good sense of the primacy of newspaper printings such as this example is given by the fact that news from Botany Bay in book form (namely the "Officer" account and Watkin Tench) appeared in early April the following year. The passage is captioned "Extract of a Letter from an Officer in the Botany Bay Fleet, dated Cape of Good Hope, Nov. 7, 1787". The single paragraph does not give any direct clues as to its author, but is the work of someone senior enough to know that the plan had changed and that they no longer planned to make landfall at remote Kerguelen Island, a change which "will in some degree shorten the dismal length of passage we have yet to encounter". It is possible that the letter was written by a medical officer, as the author records a total of 12 dead since the departure from England. Front cover rubbed with slight loss of lettering at the centrefold, otherwise very good.
[Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
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