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Cursory Remarks on board the ship Friendship... in the years 1799, 1800, and 1801
London: Black, Kingsbury, Parbury & Allen 1819-, 1820. Octavo, 13 consecutive extracts printing the full account (pagination varies), early owner's note that it was published in the "Asiatic Journal", presentation inscription; very good in contemporary half roan, gilt. Presentation volume: Bennelong, Sydney and a live kangaroo. A detailed and entertaining narrative by Mary Ann Reid, the wife of Hugh Reid, master of the{i Friendship }that sailed for New South Wales in 1799.{i }Mrs. Reid's "Cursory Remarks" were published in the monthly {i Asiatic Journal} between late 1819 and early 1820, in thirteen parts, and the author herself (as a presentation inscription makes clear) has had this full run of extracts bound as a gift for her sister Mrs. Campbell. The account is a particularly early account of a convict voyage written by a woman, and might be compared with Mary Ann Parker's account of the {i Gorgon} voyage. The {i Friendship} sailed from Cork in August 1799 with one hundred and thirty three convicts including a number of Irish political prisoners. Reid shows a genuine curiosity about life at sea, and is particularly interested in natural history, making comments and describing her attempts to make a small collection throughout the narrative. She spent some time ashore in St. Helena, spending nine days at the house of Henry Porteous, a protégé of Banks and botanist for the{i }East India Company. The ship arrived at Port Jackson in February 1800, and remained for three months, during which time she lived aboard ship, as it was deemed more comfortable than anything that could be found on shore. They were entertained royally by Hunter and Paterson, although internal politics were quite obvious (two rival farewells were thrown). She also had several interactions with Sydney Aborigines, including a fish dinner with Bennelong, but was not at all impressed with his manners. She was also taken to witness a ritual fight on the Barrack Square, which she describes in some detail, and gives a long and accurate account of a woman fishing in a bark canoe, openly impressed by the woman's dexterity. Her other great pastime was the collection of natural history, and her account is a surprisingly early notice of how such an activity was undertaken in polite society. Reid writes that she 'was not idle in making a little collection of birds, quadrupeds, and other animals, and of the weapons and implements of the natives' either through purchase or gift. She is thrilled to acquire a 'young docile kangaroo' in return for a bottle of spirits, but unfortunately the animal died on the return trip after a fall down the hatchway. The narrative was originally published in the {i Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register}, 1819-20.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-10-10           Check availability:      Biblio    


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