A Voyage to the South Seas, and to many other parts of the world, performed from the month of September in the year 1740, to June 1744, by Commodore Anson, in his Majesty's Ship the Centurion, having under his command the Gloucester, Pearl, Severn, Wager, Trial, and two Store-Ships. By an Officer of the Squadron. ANSON, An OFFICER OF THE SQUADRON, pseud.

A Voyage to the South Seas, and to many other parts of the world…
A Voyage to the South Seas, and to many other parts of the world, performed from the month of September in the year 1740, to June 1744, by Commodore Anson, in his Majesty's Ship the Centurion, having under his command the Gloucester, Pearl, Severn, Wager, Trial, and two Store-Ships. By an Officer of the Squadron.

London: John and Paul Knapton, 1744.

Octavo, with an engraved portrait frontispiece and four folding engraved plates; contemporary speckled calf, old rebacking.

The anonymous "Squadron" account of the Anson voyage

The rarest of two pirated accounts of the Anson voyage to appear in print in 1744, marking the hugely celebrated return of Anson's voyage and capture of the Manila treasure galleon, and predating the official narrative by a full four years. This version, attributed to "an officer of the squadron" is markedly rarer than the other, which is attributed to "an officer of the fleet". The two have often been confused: a full schedule of the points of distinction between the two is available at hordern.com (search 4504976).

The rarest of two pirated accounts of the Anson voyage to appear in print in 1744, marking the hugely celebrated return of Anson's voyage and capture of the Manila treasure galleon, and predating the official narrative by a full four years. This version, attributed to "an officer of the squadron" is markedly rarer than the other, which is attributed to "an officer of the fleet". The two have often been confused: a full schedule of the points of distinction between the two is available at hordern.com (search 4504976).
Anson's return to England with HMS Centurion in the summer of 1744 was the occasion of popular celebration and intense interest in the events of his tumultuous four year voyage round the world, which had culminated in the capture of the Manila treasure galleon. 'After the fleet's failure off Toulon in February the navy stood in need of a popular triumph, and the capture of a treasure galleon was in the public mind the next best thing to a fleet victory. Day after day the newspapers carried reports of the homecoming: the procession from Portsmouth to London, with thirty two wagons laden with treasure; the feting of Anson and his men; details of the prize money and the dispute over its allocation…' (Williams, p. 229).
This was the background that led to a small rush of publications. First of all, Bulkeley and Cummins's Voyage to the South Seas came out (actually in 1743: this concerned itself with the loss of Anson's support ship, the Wager on the South American coast soon after the beginning of the expedition). In 1744 an account was published by 'John Philips' as An Authentic Journal of the late Expedition. This was the first book-length account of the entire expedition to be printed. It is likely that 'John Philips', given on the title page, was a pseudonym. 'Possibly the reason for assuming this nom de guerre may lie in the fact that the book contains a full account of the journey to England of the mutineers of the Wager after their ship was wrecked; for the author sympathises with them in their deserting their captain (Captain David Cheap), and his remaining officers. The story of the mutineers was supplied by Mr Bulkeley, a warrant officer of the Wager, and a ring leader of the mutiny; and the case was still sub judice when the book was published by "John Philips". It must have been an instant success, for it was at once pirated by two separate publishers …. This work … mentions names and events not referred to in the other books of the voyage; thus filling in gaps, sometimes important ones, in the history…' (Sommerville pp. 314 5).
The two pirated accounts referred to by Sommerville came out quickly afterwards. They have evident similarities, but can also be clearly distinguished one from the other, not least by the fact that one claims to be written by "An Officer of the Fleet" and the other by "An Officer of the Squadron". The "Fleet" and "Squadron" accounts, as they may be referred to, are of equal importance but, as it happens, the "Squadron" version seems rarer than the "Fleet" version by a factor of two or three, judging by the few appearances of either on the market. Although this printing is noted by the Hill catalogue it is not recorded by Borba de Moraes, the Kroepelien catalogue, or Sabin.
"Fleet" and "Squadron" issues of A Voyage to the South-Seas, 1744.
A close examination of the two versions is summarised here:
1. "Fleet" is in two volumes, intentionally so as there are separate title pages. Vol I begins with the journal of the "Officer of the Fleet", i.e. the Centurion text, but quickly breaks off and a journal of the Wager's trials is interpolated; the end of the Wager journal coincides with the end of Volume I. Volume II resumes the journal that was broken off at the beginning of Volume I.
2. "Squadron" - a single volume with consecutive pagination - follows the same organisational scheme as "Fleet" but contains an appendix that is excluded from "Fleet". The text of the Preface, the Centurion journal and the Wager Journal are virtually identical; the only differences to be noted are a few paragraphs or phrases included in "Squadron" and omitted in "Fleet". In the Preface the omissions seem to be sections where the author refers to himself or gives his reasons for publishing his journal. "Fleet" is much less prone to use capital letters at every opportunity.
3. However in "Squadron" the Centurion narrative resumes where it left off [April 20th]. But when the Centurion journal is resumed in "Fleet" it starts afresh with the Fleet setting sail, arriving at St. Catherine's and Port St. Julian, etc. In both cases the narrative that follows the Wager account is taken almost verbatim from Philips, with some omissions.
4. The interesting question is where does the initial journal fragment (pages 1 to 25) in "Squadron", come from? This journal fragment is not derived from Philips for these clear reasons:
a. When the fleet anchors at Port St. Julian the author of the journal fragment notes "Here I myself and some other officers went ashore" and proceeds to describe in detail the habits of the seals to be found there as well as extensive comments on the Indians encountered. None of this detail appears in Phillips who simply notes that a boat was sent ashore.
b. Captain Dandy Kidd's prophetic dying words are quoted by both Philips and the author of the journal fragment, and are significantly different
c. The dates given by the author of the journal fragment are one day earlier than Phillips. This is perhaps due to the difference between the seaman's way of recording time [from noon to noon] and the normal way [midnight to midnight]. There is a footnote at the beginning of Philips that explains how time is kept at sea [as would be expected, this same note appears in the "Fleet" narrative that follows the Wager account]. If the journal fragment were in any way derived from Phillips it would seem inconceivable that the plagiariser would convert sea time to land time! It would be nice to hypothesise that the "fragment" author was not a seaman, but this cannot be the case since he refers to "myself and some other officers" going ashore.
5. "Fleet" contains a note by the publisher, Merryman, at the end of each volume. "Squadron" has no such notes, and in any event even if present they would obviously have to differ. Merryman's note is amusing, probably typical of the era, and sheds perhaps a little light on the issue of which came first. (It is transcribed in full below).
6. The frontispiece portrait of Anson in "Fleet" is obviously copied from "Squadron" [or they both derive from a common source]. The copy is very crude, in fact comically so. The Hill catalogue describes it as a woodblock. "Fleet" has fewer plates than "Squadron" and the two it does have bear no resemblance to the plates in "Squadron". These plates are as crude as the frontispiece.
7. There were two issues of "Squadron", one published by R. Walker (as here), the other by Knapton. Merryman in the publisher's note at the end of Vol I of "Fleet" refers to the "Squadron" edition and notes these two separate publishers.
8. There were at least two issues of "Fleet", with the publisher named as either by Merryman or Robinson.
9. The following three reasons would seem to indicate that "Fleet" was derived from "Squadron":
a. The publisher's note by Merryman suggests that "Squadron" was published first.
b. The differences in the Preface make more sense as omissions from the "Squadron" text than interpolations into the "Fleet" text.
c. Thirdly, the "Fleet" text corrects at least one obvious error in a date in the "Squadron" text. It seems unlikely that the publishers could have been working simultaneously from the same journal as both would have had to come to the same editorial decision to interpolate the Wager journal, and at the same point.
10. The Centurion journal almost certainly does not derive from the Philips printing. Philips is more a log than a journal, with an entry for each day. "Fleet" and "Squadron" include much more descriptive material, not appearing at all in Philips, and don't provide a day by day account.
11. The Wager journal is reproduced almost verbatim from Bulkeley and Cummins. It was perhaps a clumsy attempt to disguise this that causes the first pages of the journal to refer to "the gunner" instead of to "I".
Appendix I: Detailed collation of "Fleet" and "Squadron" issues.
"
Officer of the Fleet"
A Voyage to the South Seas, and to many other parts of the world, performed from the month of September in the year 1740, to June 1744, by Commodore Anson, in his Majesty's Ship the Centurion, having under his command the Gloucester, Pearl, Severn, Wager, Trial, and two store-Ships. By an Officer of the Fleet. London: Printed and Sold by A. Merryman, near Ludgate Hill. M,DCC,XLIV.
Octavo, 2 volumes. Volume I: [i] frontispiece portrait of Commodore Anson, [ii] blank, [iii] title, in red and black, [iv] blank, [5] + 6 - 354 text pp. Leaf with pp. 131 and 132 mis-paginated as 133 and 134 and switched with leaf containing pp. 133 and 134 also mis-paginated as 131 and 132. Pps. 158 to 334 paginated as 178 to 354. One plate, following p. 131, illustrating the "Straits of Le Maire"
Volume II: [i] frontispiece portrait of Commodore Anson, [ii] blank, [iii] title, [iv] blank, [v] + vi - viii Preface, [9] + 10 - 231 text, [232] - 234 publishers note. One folding plate, Following pp. 82, with two illustrations "The Wager wreck'd. Mr Cozens rolling a Cask up a steep Beech" and "Captain Cheap, shoots Mr. Cozens without asking him any Question".
"Officer of the Squadron"
A Voyage to the South Seas, and to many other parts of the world, performed from the month of September in the year 1740, to June 1744, by Commodore Anson, in his Majesty's Ship the Centurion, having under his command the Gloucester, Pearl, Severn, Wager, Trial, and two store-Ships. By an Officer of the Squadron. London: Printed and Sold by R. Walker, in Fleet-Lane. MDCCXLIV.
Frontispiece portrait of Commodore Anson, no pagination, [i] title, [ii] blank, [iii] + iv - x Preface, [11] + 12 - 408 text, [1] + 2 - 54 text of appendix pp. Folding plates as follows: Following pp. 232, "A Representation of Capt. Cheap…shooting Mr. Cozens"; following pp. 328, "A View of two Male Sea Lyons…"; following pp. 368, "The Viceroy of Canton…gives Audience to Commodore Anson…."; following pp. 408, "A View of the Engagement between Angria the Pyrate …& the English East India Fleet, on the 10 of January 1740..".
NOTE: Another copy of this issue examined contained an additional title-leaf to the Appendix dated 1745: this leaf is not called for by the Hill catalogue, and the 1745 dating, taken in conjunction with the fairly convincing argument for priority of the "Squadron" issue outlined above, suggest that this additional leaf may indicate a later issue by the same publisher. The same copy also contained a fifth engraved plate not present in the copy offered here, "The Massacre of the English at Amboyna", specific to the Appendix.
Appendix 2: Extract from publisher's note at end of Vol I of "Fleet" issue.
Note, The publick are desired to take Notice, That they may not have their pockets pickt by the Fleet Lane and White Fryars Puffers, that their Journal of Anson's voyage, is the same with that published by Robinson on Ludgate Hill, and by Mr. Merryman near Ludgate, only larded with the Addition of Customs, Religions, &c. to which the Voyagers were utter Strangers, and, perhaps, every body else but the Author in the Fleet (Prison) whose Situation, Years, and natural Aversion to travelling, prohibits him any other Information than what he receives or collects from the Mouths or Works of romancing Travellers.
N.B. If you would avoid being upon, in facts, Work, Paper and Price, ask for Mr. Merryman's Farthing Numbers of Anson's Voyage, in the centurion; who has already finished the Sufferings of the Wager, in Farthing Numbers, inferior to none, and sells them, sew'd in blue covers, for Seven Pence Half Penny, the which will cost of the above Puffers Two shillings at least —- How injurious these proceedings are to every honest Man I leave the reader to judge when he has paid Two Shillings for That he could purchase for Seven pence Half Penny: A MERRYMAN"

Provenance: Private collection (Sydney).

Hill, 1787.

Price (AUD): $7,200.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504976

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