9 May 2002
Arthur Dobbs (1689-1765).
An Account of the Countries adjoining to Hudson's Bay, in the North-West Part of America. London: for J.Robinson, 1744. 4° (257 x 197mm). Folding engraved map. (Map backed onto Japanese paper, neat repairs to title.) Modern speckled calf, spine gilt. Provenance: John G.Kinross (early signature on endpaper).
FIRST EDITION of this important work compiled by Dobbs, a politician and anti-Hudson Bay Company propagandist. The Admiralty, at Dobbs' instigation, despatched an expedition of two ships (the Furnace and the Discovery) under the command of Christopher Middleton. The ships sailed in June 1741 with instructions to search for a Northwest Passage through Roes Welcome Sound, in the northwest of Hudson Bay. 'Middleton's voyage should have demonstrated conclusively that there was no Northwest Passage through Roes Welcome Sound. On his return [in October 1742], however, his findings were disputed by Dobbs who, with the support of some of Middleton's crew, claimed that Wager Bay was really a strait and that Middleton had concealed the fact.' (Holland Arctic Exploration and Development 1994, p.109).
The present work contains Dobbs' claims that Middleton colluded with the Hudson Bay Company to prevent the discovery of a Northwest Passage for fear of harming the Company's monopoly. To prove his main point (the existence of the Northwest Passage) Dobbs' mounted his own expedition in 1746 under the command of Middleton's former second in command, William Moor. Howes D-373; Lande 1144; Sabin 20404; Streeter 3637; Wagner 549.
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