A Residence of Eleven Years in New Holland and the Caroline Islands: being the Adventures of James O'Connell. Edited from his verbal narration. James F. O'CONNELL.
A Residence of Eleven Years in New Holland and the Caroline Islands: being the Adventures of James O'Connell. Edited from his verbal narration.

A Residence of Eleven Years in New Holland and the Caroline Islands…
A Residence of Eleven Years in New Holland and the Caroline Islands: being the Adventures of James O'Connell. Edited from his verbal narration.

Boston: B.B. Mussey, 1841.

Duodecimo; contemporary full sheep, rebacked.

Oxley, Parramatta and life with the Aborigines

Second edition of this important account. A homeless London waif, O'Connell, aged about eleven, sailed for Port Jackson as a cabin-boy (or perhaps as a prisoner) on board a convict ship. During some years' residence in New Holland, he 'accompanied Oxley on a six months' exploring expedition. Thus he became acquainted with the condition of the colony, the discipline of the convicts and the character of the Aborigines…' (Ferguson). With an important chapter printing his own thoughts on the differences between "northern and southern" tribes.

Second edition of this important account. A homeless London waif, O'Connell, aged about eleven, sailed for Port Jackson as a cabin-boy (or perhaps as a prisoner) on board a convict ship. During some years' residence in New Holland, he 'accompanied Oxley on a six months' exploring expedition. Thus he became acquainted with the condition of the colony, the discipline of the convicts and the character of the Aborigines…' (Ferguson). With an important chapter printing his own thoughts on the differences between "northern and southern" tribes.

In about 1826 O'Connell joined the whaler John Bull which having first stopped off in New Zealand made for the Caroline Islands with the view of moving on to the Sea of Japan. With the Captain drunk on deck, the ship was wrecked on a reef, and whilst the entire crew managed to escape in the boats, few survived the following three days and four nights afloat. Taken in by the natives, O'Connell and his shipmate George Keenan remained for five years, during which time the author married, fathered five children and was tattooed. His description is 'the first extensive ethnographic account of the island of Ponape' (Day). A five-page appendix gives a vocabulary of the language of the Caroline Islands.

Taken off the island by the American schooner Spy, O'Connell and Keenan were imprisoned in Manila under suspicion of being either pirates or escaped convicts. With no evidence against them they were eventually discharged and sent to Macao and then Canton, from where they travelled to Peking to join a caravan for Constantinople. On reaching the Imperial city the travellers abandoned their plans and made for Canton overland and took ship for Halifax, Nova Scotia. O'Connell alone finally made New York in the autumn of 1835 and became the first tattooed man exhibited in the United States, returning to his circus roots.

Copies of this Boston-published second edition are recorded with a pair of plates, but this unillustrated version appears to be the more common issue.

Ferguson, 3268; Hill, 1250 (first edition).

Price (AUD): $600.00  other currencies     Ref: #4106332