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    Sale 1922

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    3 December 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 179

    QUIMPER, Manuel (1754-1844). Islas de Sandwich. Descripcion Sucinta de este Archipiélago, Nombre que les dió su Célebre Descubridor El Capitan Cook, Reconocidas por el Teniente de Fragata de la Armada Nacional D. Manuel Quimper Benitez del Pino. Madrid: E[duardo] Aguado, 1822.

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    QUIMPER, Manuel (1754-1844). Islas de Sandwich. Descripcion Sucinta de este Archipiélago, Nombre que les dió su Célebre Descubridor El Capitan Cook, Reconocidas por el Teniente de Fragata de la Armada Nacional D. Manuel Quimper Benitez del Pino. Madrid: E[duardo] Aguado, 1822.

    8o (204 x 145 mm). 32 pages. (Worm track in lower half of sheet throughout affecting text.) Late 19th-century quarter morocco (lightly rubbed).


    During the 1770s, Spain sought to control the coastal regions north of California to protect the northern frontiers of New Spain. Rivalry with both England and Russia for fur trade exacerbated the need to send exploring expeditions northwards. At the outbreak of the Nootka Sound Controversy, Lieutenant Manuel Quimper Benitez del Rio (1754-1844) commanded the captured British vessel Princess Royal during the expedition to reoccupy Nootka Sound. In June he explored the Juan de Fuca Strait, before Francisco Eliza and George Vancouver. He was the first European to report seeing Mount Baker, which he named La gran Montagna Carmelita. On the Olympic Peninsula he traded with and observed the customs of indigenous people near Dungeness (which he named Bahia de Quimper) and near the Elwha River, which were most likely members of the Klallam tribe in both instances and he was possibly the first European they had seen. (Most of his discoveries along the strait were renamed by British Captain George Vancouver in 1792.)

    In 1791 Quimper sailed the Princess Royal to Hawaii. While exploring that island he had a tense encounter with James Colnet, the British commander at Nootka, on April 1 1791. Colnet demanded an explanation from Quimper as to why the Princess Royal had not yet been returned to the British and Quimper informed him of the plans to return it at Macao. Colnet threatened to seize the ship then and there, but when he observed Quimper preparing for combat he backed down. Quimper continued his exploration of the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Oahu. This publication describes these events and several encounters with the natives, adding a native glossary.

    He returned to Spain and in 1822 published his extremely rare Islas de Sandwich (translated in English in the 20th century by Hawaiian researcher Clark Lee, Honolulu University of Hawaii). Among the cites discovered and/or named by Quimper are: "El Puerto de Quimper" (now Dungeness Bay, Washington), "la Bahía de Bodega y Cuadra" (now Discovery Bay, Washington), "la Bahía de Nuñez Gaona" (now Neah Bay, Washington), "la Gran Montaña de Carmelito" (now Mount Baker, Washington), "la Punta de Santa Cruz" (now Dungeness, Washington), "Nuestra señora de los Angeles" (now Port Angeles, Washington), "la Puerta de Revillagigedo" (now Sook, British Columbia), "el Puerto de Cordova" (now Esquimalt, British Columbia), "El Puerto de san Juan" (now Port Renfrew, British Columbia), "La Punta de San Miguel" (now Albert Head, British Columbia), la Rada de Eliza (now Pedder Bay, British Columbia), la Rada de Solano (now Parry Bay, British Columbia), la Rada de Valdes y Bazan (now Royal Roads, British Columbia), discoverer of "la ensenada de Quimper" (now Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii), "la ensenada de Quadra" (now Maalaea, Maui, Hawaii) and "la Ensenada de Ulloa" (now Kawaihae Bay, Hawaii Island, Hawaii).

    ANNOTATED AT END BY MIGUEL QUIMPER: at end are autograph annotations made probably between 1823-1825 when the author was near 70 years old. He adds two new native words to his glossary, in the page 28 "Ariote": mujer soltera (single woman), and changes the word "faa" by "fa" in his description of mujer corrupta (corrupt woman, horn), "puta significa bujero" is changed to "puta significa ah(g)ujero" (horn means hole). On the final leaf, "Protesta Final", he express his resentment with the Spanish government (he was retired with a poor salary) when he says "Notwithstanding the disdain by which the past and the current governments have treated my person, leaving me in the condition of a pensioner after having served as a gobernador intendente (governor intendant) with a positive opinion in both military and political regards, Quimper adds this annotation "by an American [government] hypocrite and weak" (por [un gobierno] americano hipócrita e indulgente) . He further adds: "I am fully rejoiced with the fact that I have worked since my puberty in preferential and interesting services to our nation, including the most risky navigations, discoveries, and reconnaissance voyages in various parts of the world. Now I am concluding my days in retirement together with my wife and children with only a third of my salary, after 46 years of continuous services, which should have credited me for everything... but they could indemnify me in the Lima Court I could enjoy this according to law" (pero ellos podrian indemnizarme en el juzgado de Lima [ya que lo] disfrutaría segun Ordenanza). A final correction is found on the last leaf, as are the initials "M.Q."

    Census of located copies : 1. John Carter Brown, 2. Australia National Libraries, 3. Biblioteca Hispánica del Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana de la Agencia Espanola de Cooperación Internacional (Madrid), 4. the Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid) (Catálogo Colectivo del Patrimonio Bibliográfico). 5. Bernice P. Bishop Museum Library, Honolulu. Not in Hill, the Frank S. Streeter collection, LOC., NYPL., BM., HSA., Canada National Library, Manoa Library (Hawaii University). Finding Paradise: Island Art in Private Collections 30 ("for a long time, only one copy of this book was known (to Hawaiian scholars), but another has been located at the Bishop Museum"); Forbes 559.


    QUIMPER, Manuel. Letter signed ("Manuel Quimper") to an unidentified official ("Cabildo Gobernador del Obispado"), Guamanga [Huamanga, Peru], 21 May 1819. 2 pages, folio, light dampstains, minor dustsoiling to lower margin. In Spanish.

    The retired explorer bitterly protests his dismissal as Governor to the Spanish colonial authorities and details his services to the Crown: "...Since reports to the Crown may have been the main reason for my unexpected removal from command in this province, as I am now dismissed, I should be compensated for my 46 years of service." Quimper points out that "I have distinguished myself in the Peninsula and in this Kingdom, and have served two provinces scrupulously since the beginning of the revolutionary period, as well as the Governor appointed by His Majesty (whom God preserve)...My actions, zeal and fidelity have been outstanding. I hope that Your Honor will inform the King in triplicate how much the particular service and security of the Province is worth..." He goes on to acknowledge that he overstepped his authority in entering the Monastery of Santa Clara without permission, while serving on the ecclesiastical court, and expresses repentance.

    In 1805 Quimper was named Governor of Huamanga (Guamanga) then the Puno region, and was responsible for suppressing an incipient revolt against the royal government, but in the upheaval his papers and library were destroyed. During this turbulent period he was removed from office (the subject of the present letter) and went to Spain, where he published literary works and his account of his landmark voyage to the Sandwich Islands in 1791. He returned to Peru after independence, and resided there until his death in 1844.

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