A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, in New South Wales, including an Accurate Description of the Situation of the Colony; of the Natives; and of its Natural Productions: taken on the spot, by Captain Watkin Tench, of the Marines. Captain Watkin TENCH.
A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, in New South Wales, including an Accurate Description of the Situation of the Colony; of the Natives; and of its Natural Productions: taken on the spot, by Captain Watkin Tench, of the Marines.
A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, in New South Wales, including an Accurate Description of the Situation of the Colony; of the Natives; and of its Natural Productions: taken on the spot, by Captain Watkin Tench, of the Marines.

A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, in New South Wales…
A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, in New South Wales, including an Accurate Description of the Situation of the Colony; of the Natives; and of its Natural Productions: taken on the spot, by Captain Watkin Tench, of the Marines.

London: Nicol and Sewell, 1793.

Quarto, with a folding map; a remarkable copy, completely uncut in the original blue-grey boards with plain leather spine; quarter morocco bookform box.

Tench's second book detailing the early years: an eighteenth-century book club's copy in its original boards binding

A remarkable 18th-century book club copy of Watkin Tench's important second book, completing his account of the settlement at Sydney Cove. His very readable account continues the story to cover the first four years of the colony. Tench left New South Wales with the other marines on 18 December 1791 aboard HMS Gorgon which had accompanied the Third Fleet and his book was published in November or December 1793, more than a year after his return.

A remarkable 18th-century book club copy of Watkin Tench's important second book, completing his account of the settlement at Sydney Cove. His very readable account continues the story to cover the first four years of the colony. Tench left New South Wales with the other marines on 18 December 1791 aboard HMS Gorgon which had accompanied the Third Fleet and his book was published in November or December 1793, more than a year after his return.

Tench's second publication paints a comprehensive view of daily life in the settlement through years of hardship and severe shortages. An understanding and intelligent observer of human nature, he gives vivid insights into the often strained relationships between convict labourers and the marines set to guard them. His account is praised as the most insightful and detailed description of the social fabric of the penal colony, in contrast to other more formal and official narratives. Tench also describes his significant explorations of the landscape of the Sydney basin and forays into the Blue Mountains, while providing sympathetic descriptions of their contact with the Eora Aboriginal people. The book includes a folding map providing an excellent survey of known lands, it details Botany Bay and Broken Bay along the coast and inland to the Nepean river, with numerous engraved notes on the landscape with a view to future farming and grazing ventures.

This most interesting copy offers valuable evidence of the readership for such a book in the decade of publication, exemplifying the depth of interest in the new colony. A dated list in ink manuscript on the front pastedown records the various readers of this copy, beginning with one J.R. Rowntree on 7 July 1795. The book is then passed on in sequence to Dr. Alexander, Mr. Ewbank, Mr. Bolton, Dr. Addie, Mr. Aspinwall, Mr. Brewster, Mr. Wray, Mr. Tidy, Mr. Sutton, Mr. Clarke, Mr. Anstey, Mr. Hogg, and Mr. Simpson: fourteen readers in eleven months. In April of that year the club's secretary notes that it was sold back to Rev. Rowntree for half-price, 5s 9d: presumably, since it started out with him, he had acquired it new on behalf of the group. A search of that mixture of names identifies the group as being a society formed in Stockton-on-Tees, which at this period was transitioning from being a small quiet market town to an industrial hub with growing engineering and shipbuilding activities. In June 1776 "A literary society, or book club, [was] established at Stockton: The number of members is restricted to 12 ; and the books, after they have gone the circulation, are sold to the best bidder. The original members were the Revds. Andw. Blackie, John Rowntree, and John Aspinwall; and Messrs. Laur. Jonson, J. Burden, J.S. Baisbeck, G. Wray, Leo. Robinson, jun., Geo. Wear, and Benj. Reid. The Revds. T. H. Tidy and J. Brewster were afterwards elected to make up the number allowed..." (Thomas Richmond, The local records of Stockton and the neighbourhood, Stockton 1868, p.79). Several of these are figures of individual interest: John Brewster, for example, who was educated at Lincoln College Oxford and became vicar of Stockton, was the author of a number of books including 'Parochial History and Antiquities of Stockton-on-Tees,' (Stockton 1796 and 1829) and had an interest in prison reform.

Provenance: Stockton-on-Tees Literary Society (in 1795); Rev. J.R. Rowntree (Stockton, from 1796); Private collection (Sydney).

Clancy, 9.12; Crittenden, 'A Bibliography of the First Fleet', 238; Ferguson, 171; not in the catalogue of the Hill collection; Wantrup, 16.

Price (AUD): $17,500.00  other currencies Ref: #4504592

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