Item #5000929 Directions for sailing to & from the East Indies, China, New Holland, Cape of Good Hope, and the interjacent ports; compiled chiefly from original journals at the East India House. James HORSBURGH.
Directions for sailing to & from the East Indies, China, New Holland, Cape of Good Hope, and the interjacent ports; compiled chiefly from original journals at the East India House...
Directions for sailing to & from the East Indies, China, New Holland, Cape of Good Hope, and the interjacent ports; compiled chiefly from original journals at the East India House...
Directions for sailing to & from the East Indies, China, New Holland, Cape of Good Hope, and the interjacent ports; compiled chiefly from original journals at the East India House...

Directions for sailing to & from the East Indies, China, New Holland, Cape of Good Hope, and the interjacent ports…
Directions for sailing to & from the East Indies, China, New Holland, Cape of Good Hope, and the interjacent ports; compiled chiefly from original journals at the East India House...

London: for the author, 1809-1811.

Two volumes, quarto; contemporary mottled dark calf gilt, spine gilt in compartments with double labels, joints very neatly strengthened.

A presentation copy of Horsburgh's Sailing Directions

An excellent copy of the very scarce first edition of this navigational classic, containing the essential information for navigation in the East Indies, Australian waters and the South Seas, based on navigators' reports, ship logs, surveys, and local knowledge. Before Horsburgh collated the masses of information that fill the book, navigational knowledge of the region was often fragmented and passed down orally. His book standardised and disseminated this knowledge, making it accessible to a wider audience of sailors and navigators. Published just two decades after the arrival of the First Fleet in New South Wales, it provided crucial navigational information for ships travelling between Britain and the colony, enabling the more reliable voyages essential for transporting convicts, supplies, and settlers. The detailed descriptions of ports and anchorages aided the development of trade routes between New South Wales and the East Indies and Far East.

An excellent copy of the very scarce first edition of this navigational classic, containing the essential information for navigation in the East Indies, Australian waters and the South Seas, based on navigators' reports, ship logs, surveys, and local knowledge. Before Horsburgh collated the masses of information that fill the book, navigational knowledge of the region was often fragmented and passed down orally. His book standardised and disseminated this knowledge, making it accessible to a wider audience of sailors and navigators. Published just two decades after the arrival of the First Fleet in New South Wales, it provided crucial navigational information for ships travelling between Britain and the colony, enabling the more reliable voyages essential for transporting convicts, supplies, and settlers. The detailed descriptions of ports and anchorages aided the development of trade routes between New South Wales and the East Indies and Far East.

The work was in continual revision, and the numerous editions and separately printed additions that were to follow this original edition reflect current information. Perhaps because of their shipboard use, most early editions are scarce: we have traced only this copy of the first edition and one other appearing for sale at auction this century, the latter a very poor copy sold twice in the same year.

James Horsburgh became hydrographer and chart maker to the East India Company at about the time this first edition was published. "As hydrographer Horsburgh was primarily responsible for supervising the engraving of charts sent back to London by marine surveyors in India and ordered by the company to be published, and for examining the deposited journals of returning ships for observations which would refine the oceanic navigation charts currently in use, besides other duties of provision of information laid on him by the court" (Cook, "Horsburgh, James (1762-1836)", in ODNB, online resource). The book was published in a total of eight editions between 1809 and 1864.

Provenance: Presentation copy inscribed "From the author", and with bold signature of W. Hope in several places, dated 1814, with an 11-line manuscript note titled "Ontario Reef"; from the library of the late Dr. Robert Edwards AO.

Ferguson, 481.

Condition Report: Some light browning or staining, nowhere offensive.

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