DIXON, William (ca 1755-1800) [and William BERESFORD, fl. 1788]. A Voyage Round the World; but more particularly to the North-West of America: Performed in 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, in The King George and Queen Charlotte, Captains Portlock and Dixon. London: George Goulding, 1789.
4o (372 x 216 mm). Folding frontispiece map and 21 engraved maps and plates [7 folding], errata leaf. (Title and first signature frayed at edges, some pale dampstaining and soiling.) 19th-century half calf (recased, endpapers renewed).
SCARCE FIRST EDITION ON THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, a voyage undertaken by the newly-formed King George's Sound Company to establish a fur trade between the northwest American coast and China, earlier news from Cook's ships Resolution and Discovery on the lucrative trade having been the impetus. The coastal surveys of the two ships, however, were the most important result of the voyage, particularly those made by Dixon northward from Nootka Sound. The text of Dixon's voyage is by William Beresford, an officer aboard the Queen Charlotte, in the form of letters to a friend in London, but edited by Dixon who added the introduction and appendix. Dixon discovered and mapped the Queen Charlotte Islands, naming them after his ship, discovered Dixon Entrance north of those islands, and more accurately mapped the coast and approaches to the mainland at the same time as recording the ethnology of the coastal Indians and natural history. Although similarly titled, Dixon and Portlock's works differ markedly. The ships separated in 1787 at Prince William Sound when Dixon sailed south, later re-joining Portlock at Nootka. Both men had been on James Cook's third voyage in these same waters and in Hawaii where their ships called before reaching Alaska and en route to China. Their long stay and fur trading in Macao, Whampoa and Canton 1788 is well covered by Beresford, the supercargo aboard the Queen Charlotte. Little is written by either men of their rescue of John Meares in his ship Nootka from Cook Inlet where he had been iced-in and lost many men to scurvy, but the episode sparked a bitter pamphlet war between Meares and Dixon. Forbes 161; Hill 117; Lada-Mokarski 43; Sabin 64390.