A Voyage Towards the North Pole

Undertaken At His Majesty's Command 1773

PHIPPS, Constantine John

THE MAIDEN VOYAGE OF LORD NELSON, IN SEARCH OF THE OPEN POLAR SEA

PHIPPS, Constantine John A Voyage Towards the North Pole Undertaken At His Majesty's Command 1773

Printed By W. Bowyer And J. Nichols, 1774.

First edition. 4to. Bound to style in recent quarter calf, title label lettered in gilt, over green cloth boards. With the directions to the bookbinder leaf present. Folding frontispiece and thirteen further folding plates, printed on thick paper in good impressions, including maps, panoramic views, tables, diagrams and studies of flora and fauna. A very good copy, clean and fresh. Frontispiece trimmed to the edges of the map.

The account of Phipps's 1773 attempt, (in two ships, the Racehorse and the Carcass) "to test the theory that in the open sea the Arctic Ocean might be largely free of ice, and offer a route to the Pacific" (ODNB). Though naturally unsuccessful in this aim, Phipps's voyage had a wide scientific program, with detailed appendices recording the flora and fauna of Spitsbergen, as well as geological, meteorological and astronomical observations.
Having reached the northern shore of Spitsbergen and attempting to proceed farther north, the expedition encountered "one complete inpenetrable body" of ice, putting to pasture the theory of the open polar sea. In spite of further attempts to nudge northward being thwarted by encounters with pack-ice, Phipps recorded a farthest north record of 80°48'N.
The voyage is also memorable for being the maiden voyage of Horatio Nelson. Then a fourteen-year-old midshipman, he "famously and dangerously attacked a polar bear in hopes of getting its skin for his father" (Books On Ice).

Books On Ice p.13.

Stock ID: 39278

£2,750.00

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