Compiled from Papers and other Materials of the Right Honourable George Lord Anson, and published under his Direction, By Richard Walter, M.A. Chaplain of his Majesty’s Ship the Centurion, in that Expedition. Illustrated with Forty-Two Copper-Plates.
Author: ANSON, George.
Title: A Voyage Round the World in the Years MDCCXL, I, II, III, IV. ...
Publisher: London, for the Author, by John and Paul Knapton,
Stock Code: 42794
First Edition. Anson was in command of a squadron sent to plunder Spanish trading territories on the Pacific coast of South America during the War of Jenkins’ Ear. His expedition threatened to turn into a military fiasco. His small squadron was battered by storms and too few of his crew survived the journey round Cape Horn to man even the largest ship properly. Anson limped across the Pacific to Macao, where he was able to have the Centurion repaired and find more crew. Finally in June 1743 he achieved a single but substantial victory, capturing a Spanish treasure ship, the Manila galleon, off the Philippines, and returned to England in June 1744 a rich man. “Anson’s voyage is remembered as a classic tale of endurance and leadership in the face of fearful disasters, but to the British public of 1744 it was the treasure of the galleon, triumphantly paraded through the streets of London, which did something to restore national self-esteem battered by an unsuccessful war” (ODNB). The keenly-awaited book became a best-seller, running through numerous editions in its full or abridged form and being translated into several European languages. It is now agreed that the ostensible author, Richard Walter, took the initiative for publishing, gathering names of subscribers and profiting handsomely from it, but that Benjamin Robins completed the editorial task. “It is also clear that Anson himself took a very close interest in the work, which is as a result very complimentary of his actions but provides an interesting insight into his thinking. Walter’s and Robins’s contributions to the work can probably never be completely disentangled, but this should not obscure its continued popularity... It provided the inspiration and the basis for Patrick O’Brian’s popular novel The Golden Ocean (1956), his first sea novel” (op. cit.) Attractive contemporary armorial bookplate of Sir Peter Thompson, verso of the title page. Thompson features on the list of subscribers, and was a “successful and prosperous Hamburg merchant.” (ODNB) According to the Dorset antiquary John Hutchins, he “supplied the want of a liberal education by conversation with men and books” forming a “capital collection of books, manuscripts, fossils, and other literary curiosities.” (Nichols, Literary Anecdotes) He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1743. On his death in 1770 his library was inherited by his godson, who left it in the house packed up in boxes until 1781, even then the library remained intact until sold by E.H. Evans in 1815. Modern bookplate of Colin Malcolm Paul, Anson’s 6th great nephew to the front free endaper.