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Letters from Mr. Fletcher Christian
London,: H.D. Symonds, 1796.. Octavo; a very good copy in contemporary polished calf, flat spine banded and ornamented in gilt, tiny crack to front joint; bookplates. The very rare first edition of this wonderful fantasy of the ringleader of the Bounty mutiny. Christian's actual fate would not be known until Captain Mayhew Folger came across the surviving Bounty mutineers on Pitcairn Island in 1808.This fascinating spurious production masquerades as a collection of seven letters from Fletcher Christian after his supposed "escape" from Pitcairn and subsequent adventures in South America. According to the letters printed here Christian mingled with Peruvian nobles, studied Indian languages at St Jago and left Buenos Aires on a voyage to Spain.It is interesting to note that despite the weight of evidence to the contrary, a tradition remains that Christian escaped from Pitcairn and returned to England via South America. Rather as the Lord Lucan story was later to have, the Christian reappearance had its reports of sightings and vocal adherents, including the poet Wordsworth as well as Captain Heywood, the latter being convinced he saw Christian in Plymouth, while Christian's relatives in Cumberland reported that he visited them in 1808.This is an extremely rare book: it is recorded by the NUC, but without any locations noted; it is not recorded in the catalogues of the Kroepelien or Hill collections. This first edition was issued exactly as it appears here, although a frontispiece was added for a second edition issued by the same publisher the following year. Although Ferguson calls for the frontispiece in the first edition, neither the Edge-Partington copy nor a copy catalogued by Maggs Bros. in 1946 contained one.The Bremer/Davidson copy, formerly from the library of the Earl of Morley with his armorial bookplate.Ferguson, 239; not in the catalogue of the Hill collection; O'Reilly-Reitman, 9318.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-07-20           Check availability:      Biblio    

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