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The Vancouver Island Pilot, containing sailing directions for the Coasts of Vancouver Island, and part of British Columbia. Compiled from the surveys made by In H.M. Ships Plumper and Hecate, between the years 1858 and 1864.
London 1864 - London: Printed for the Hydrographic Office, Admiralty, 1864. First Edition. Large Octavo. ix, [i], 270, [1] pp. With the ownership inscription of James Gilmore of Port Townsend Dec. 1887 on the front fly leaf. Gilmore was a steamship contractor for the US postal service. Original publishers' blue gilt titled patterned cloth. Cover cloth slightly wrinkled, but overall a very good copy. Very rare first edition. "Valuable for early description" (Lowther 229). In 1856, the British Admiralty appointed Captain Richards to the Anglo-American boundary commission to settle the Oregon Boundary dispute by ordering a new survey of the coastal waters around British Columbia. Richards was given command of the steam survey vessel H.M.S. Plumper so he could provide a British military presence on Vancouver Island as well. He surveyed the international boundary through the San Juan Islands and although he met several times with American Commissioner, Archibald Campbell, the two sides failed to settle the boundary until 1871-72. In addition, over 14,000 gold miners had arrived by June 1858 from the California gold-fields, and the Admiralty desperately needed Richards to finish the survey up the Fraser River, which was going slowly because the Plumper was inadequate for the tides which ran up to 8 knots. In 1860, the Hecate, a paddle-sloop arrived at Esquimalt to replace the Plumper and for the next 2 years they made excellent progress. After Richards departed to complete his third circumnavigation of the globe, his senior assistant surveyor, Daniel Pender, stayed behind to complete the survey of the British Columbia coastline using the famous paddle Steamer, Beaver, hired from the Hudson's Bay Company. Captain Richards' original manuscript letter-book, field notebook, and captain's journal from the survey remain in private hands. Walbran p.421-2. "In 1852 [Richards] served again under Belcher, this time on a voyage to the Arctic in search of the Franklin expedition. No sign of Franklin was found, despite a number of prodigious sledge journeys, including one by Richards which lasted for ninety-three days. Belcher proved more overbearing and unreasonable than ever on this mission and Richards's tact and judgement were critical in holding the operation together. He was promoted captain in 1854. Between 1856 and 1863 he carried out surveys of Vancouver Island and parts of British Columbia. In 1863 Richards was appointed hydrographer to the Royal Navy, and began work in January 1864. Among his innovations was to make charts readily available for general use on Royal Navy ships, so that all officers, not only those responsible for navigation, would become familiar with them. He also organized the compilation and publication of charts showing prevailing winds and currents for each quarter of the year and improved the training of pilots. Under Richards hydrographic activity concentrated on areas of strategic importance, such as Canada when the USA was expanding into Alaska, or the newly opened Suez Canal in 1870, and areas of economic expansion such as Japan and Chile in the 1860s. Following the successful laying of an Atlantic submarine cable from the Great Eastern in 1866, British ships began laying cables in other parts of the world. Naval surveying ships undertook preliminary work, taking soundings along the proposed routes and sampling the seabed: these activities coincided with a surge of interest in the scientific exploration of the sea" (Oxford DNB). [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: The Wayfarer's Bookshop, ABAC/ILAB/PBFA]
Last Found On: 2015-03-06           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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