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Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales with sixty-five plates of nondescript animals, birds, lizards, serpents.
J. Debrett, London 1790 - Quarto, with an engraved title page and 65 engraved plates; title page water -stained at one corner, some intermittent foxing and toning of the plates; overall a good copy in old full speckled calf, recently rebacked. The most substantial early work of Australian natural history. First edition: the foundation of natural history of the new colony, John White's {i Journal} is a travel and ornithological classic by a medical voyager. John White was chief surgeon of the First Fleet, and was particularly successful in that he overcame serious medical problems in appalling conditions both on the voyage out and when the settlement was founded. He was also a keen amateur naturalist and after arriving at Port Jackson found time to accompany Phillip on two journeys of exploration. On joining the First Fleet he had begun to keep a journal in which he made notes about birds in the new colony. It was this manuscript which formed the nucleus of his journal. The natural history content of the published account makes White's particularly noteworthy amongst the First Fleet journals. Many of the plates were drawn in England by leading natural history artists of the day, such as Sarah Stone, from original sketches done in the colony. White's journal also contains an interesting and valuable account of the voyage from London, with long, detailed accounts of the stops at Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and of the colonial voyages to Norfolk Island. The book was an immediate success, with subscribers alone accounting for seven hundred copies. There has been much discussion over the years regarding detailed variations in the printing of the first edition of this work, but this copy is typical example of the standard configuration most often seen, with the earlier errors of the list of subscribers corrected, and the text describing the female wattled Wattled Bee-eater (for a full discussion see Ferguson, 97; Matthews, {i Birds of Australia}, {i Supplement}; and Wantrup, pp. 75-7). Interestingly, this front endpaper of this copy includes the ownership inscription of a surgeon named Richard Wright dated November 29th 1804; it is indeed curious to see a surgeon's account of the First Fleet owned by another member of the profession. [Attributes: First Edition; Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-10-10           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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