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Narrative and Successful Result of a Voyage in the South Seas, performed by order of the Government of British India, to ascertain the actual fate of La Perouse's Expedition, interspersed with accounts of the religion, manners, customs and cannibal practices of the South Sea Islanders.4504313
London: Hurst, Chance, and Co, 1829. In fine condition.. Two volumes, octavo, with two folding lithographs (one coloured), plate of a canoe, and a folding map of Mannicolo; bound without the half-titles in contemporary polished calf gilt, continental coat-of-arms in blind at centre of each cover. First edition: a very fine presentation copy in a handsome binding, inscribed "From the Author", with an unknown early owner's armorial stamps on the bindings, and later in the libraries of W.R. Griffiths and Rodney Davidson (sale 7 March 2005, lot 107), with bookplates. Forty years after the disappearance of La Pérouse, Peter Dillon, a sandalwood trader, called at the Solomons, and when a silver sword guard was brought out, suspected he had stumbled on the solution to the mystery of the great French voyage's disappearance. He returned to India, persuaded the government of Bengal to sponsor an expedition and sailed to the Solomons via Tasmania, New Zealand and Tonga. At Vanikoro, he conducted a careful investigation among the natives regarding the shipwrecks, and was able to obtain many relics including a portion of the stern of the Boussole, ships' bells stamped "Bazin m'a fait" monogrammed silver, metal fragments and mill stones known to have been aboard. One native (depicted on a folding plate) had a glass piece from a thermometer in his nose. On the successful receipt of his report and this material in France, Dillon was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, his expenses defrayed and granted a pension.Dillon, described as "eccentric, quick of temper and with a vivid vocabulary" (Dunmore), includes a scathing examination of the legal system of Tasmania and New South Wales. Aboard ship had been a Dr. Robert Tytler with whom relations were so strained that Dillon was accused of insanity, the doctor in turn arrested for attempts to incite mutiny, and upon arrival at Hobartown, assault charges were placed against Dillon and the ship sequestered. Over 40 pages relate to the questionable legal proceedings between judge and governor, and the appendix reprints articles from Australian and Indian sources on Dillon's treatment in what he called a "land of corruption and injustice".
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2016-11-28           Check availability:      Biblio    


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