Voyages and Travel from Maggs Bros.
Voyages & Travel from Maggs Bros.
By Michael Stillman
The historic London bookselling firm of Maggs Bros. Ltd. has issued its 1,435th catalogue: Voyages & Travel. It includes books that cover trips all over the world, so Maggs Bros. has grouped the books into regions which include the Americas, Near and Far East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, even the Arctic and Antarctic. There is much in the way of discovery to be found in this catalogue, which takes you back to an era of great adventure. These are a few of the items being offered by Maggs.
Item 461 is a very rare work of early Americana, God's Protecting Providence... Evidenced in the Remarkable Deliverance of Robert Barrow with divers other persons, from the Devouring Waves of the Sea, amongst which they suffered Shipwrack [sic]: And also, From the Cruel Devouring Jaws of the Inhuman Canibals [sic] of Florida, by Jonathan Dickenson. This is a gripping story of a group of people, including the author and Barrow, shipwrecked along the Florida coast. They were captured and robbed by Indians, but allowed to proceed by foot up the coast to St Augustine, 200 miles away. There they were befriended by the Spanish and sent north, first reaching Charleston after another arduous trek, and finally Philadelphia. Wright Howes says of their story, "The almost incredible adventures of these men, women and children in the hands of their Indian captors and their hardships and hunger endured on a march from Southeast Fla. to St. Augustine and along the wild coast of Ga. and Carolina to Charleston can not be equalled either in fiction or history." This book provides one of the best accounts of 17th century Florida Indians as well as the coast from St. Augustine to Charleston. Offered is one of two printings of the 1700 second edition, this one from London (the other is from Philadelphia). The 1699 Philadelphia first edition is considered unobtainable, with the second edition, as described during the Streeter sale of 1967, as "almost as rare as the first edition." Priced at £16,000 (British pounds, or about $26,532 in U.S. dollars).
Item 293 is an account of a very different, though also quite dangerous adventure. It is Richard Burton's Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah, published in 1855-1856 (three volumes). Maggs describes this as, "...perhaps the most famous of Burton's travel books," of which he produced many. Burton disguised himself a Moslem pilgrim in order to make the sacred journey to Mecca, the first English Christian to do so. Naturally, Burton had to become very familiar with the language and customs of his fellow pilgrims. £8,750 (US $14,502).
Here is another item for Burton collectors: Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, from January 1849. This includes the first printed work produced by Burton. Item 337. £2,500 (US $4,143).
Item 363 is a rarely found early Spanish-American War piece, Spanish-American War, 1898. The USS "Baltimore", at the Battle of Manila Bay... The war was barely a week old when this battle took place on May 1, 1898. The American forces commanded by Admiral George Dewey won a decisive victory that day. Within a couple of months, the war was over and America controlled the Philippines. £850 (US $1,408).
Voyages and Travel from Maggs Bros.
Darwin Tanager illustration by Gould in the Zoology of the Beagle.
The voyages of HMS Adventure and Beagle are perhaps the most important trips of all from a scientific standpoint. It was during their explorations in the 1830s that naturalist Charles Darwin, onboard the Beagle, gathered the evidence that led to his theory of evolution, announced two decades later. However, these English ships had visited South America long before Darwin ever boarded ship. Item 393 is the account of an earlier trip: Narrative of a Voyage to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, through the Strait of Magellan, in HMS Adventure and Beagle in 1826 and 1827. The book by John MacDouall, published in 1833, is an account of the voyage under the command of Pringle Stokes, who became very depressed on the journey and killed himself. However, other crewmen lived to repeat the voyage a few years later and were among Darwin's crewmates. Item 393. £5,750 (US $9,531).
Item 394 is one of the most important natural history color plate books. It is The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle, published from 1838-1843. It was edited by Charles Darwin, who also wrote many of the sections. Others involved included the great ornithologist John Gould, who, along with his wife, prepared the plates. It describes the various animals found on this voyage, including fossil specimens encountered by Darwin. £110,000 (US $182,276).
Maggs Bros. Ltd. may be reached at +44 (0)20 7493 7160 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website is www.maggs.com.