Item #5000431 An Authentic Narrative of Four Years'’ Residence at Tongataboo, one of the Friendly Islands in the South-Sea, By ---- Who went thither in the Duff, under Captain Wilson, in 1796…. George VASON.

An Authentic Narrative of four years' residence at Tongataboo…
An Authentic Narrative of Four Years'’ Residence at Tongataboo, one of the Friendly Islands in the South-Sea, By ---- Who went thither in the Duff, under Captain Wilson, in 1796…

London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1810.

Octavo, with frontispiece view and a map; an excellent copy, with the final leaf of errata, in contemporary russia leather binding, neatly respined to style.

"Nottingham'’s Robinson Crusoe"

A fine copy of the first edition of an important Pacific narrative. Not long after completing his apprenticeship as a bricklayer in Nottingham, Vason saw the light and became one of the first Christian missionaries to live in Tonga. However shortly after his arrival he married a relation of the chief with whom he was living and spent the next three years as a prosperous Tongan nobleman, living on his large estate until the outbreak of civil war in 1799. His fortunes oscillated, and just as he had been made chief of one of the islands of Vavou ("the idea of having an island of my own much delighted me…") he heard that a European ship was in Tongan waters and made his escape. But the crew of the ship were not easily convinced: they saw a tattooed Tongan chief, speaking a mixture of Tongan and garbled English, and it was not until he literally threw himself on their mercy - into the sea - that he was saved. Eventually he made his way to New York and worked on a number of American ships before returning to Nottingham, with quite a story to tell.

A fine copy of the first edition of an important Pacific narrative. Not long after completing his apprenticeship as a bricklayer in Nottingham, Vason saw the light and became one of the first Christian missionaries to live in Tonga. However shortly after his arrival he married a relation of the chief with whom he was living and spent the next three years as a prosperous Tongan nobleman, living on his large estate until the outbreak of civil war in 1799. His fortunes oscillated, and just as he had been made chief of one of the islands of Vavou ("the idea of having an island of my own much delighted me…") he heard that a European ship was in Tongan waters and made his escape. But the crew of the ship were not easily convinced: they saw a tattooed Tongan chief, speaking a mixture of Tongan and garbled English, and it was not until he literally threw himself on their mercy - into the sea - that he was saved. Eventually he made his way to New York and worked on a number of American ships before returning to Nottingham, with quite a story to tell.

This is not only one of the earliest (it predates Mariner's account by four years) but also one of the best descriptions of Tonga; it was prepared for publication and has a preface by the "eminent writer" the Rev. S. Piggott.

Ferguson, 570b; Hill, 1759; O'Reilly-Reitman, 687.

Price (AUD): $1,325.00

US$855.96   Other currencies

Ref: #5000431