14 December 2000
KING, Richard (?1811-1876). Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Arctic Ocean, in 1833, 1834, and 1835; Under the Command of Capt. Back. London: Richard Bentley, 1836.
2 volumes, 8o (194 mm x 120 mm). Half-title in volume I. (Without list of plates in volume II.) 4 engraved plates, including 2 frontispieces and a map. (A few signatures with some pale marginal spotting.) Contemporary red half morocco gilt, marbled boards (some light wear to joints and extremities). Provenance: Copley Amory (armorial bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. "King, surgeon and naturalist of the Back expedition that descended the Back River to the arctic coast of Canada, includes much material similar to that contained in Sir George Back's Narrative of the Arctic Land Expedition, 1836, with additional detail on birds, mammals, and fishes, especially as observed near Fort Reliance" (Arctic Bibliography). Most notable from a historical perspective is King's charge that Capt. Back appropriated his own research and that Back's conclusions were less than exact. Field notes that while analyzing the same subjects as Back, "their coloring to his eye bears another tinge ... [King] does not attempt to conceal the chagrin he felt, at the cool absorption of his own careful researches in the narrative of Captain Back ... Doctor King finds in [the Indians] traces of some of the nobler, as well as the more tender emotions, the possession of which Captain Back somewhat superciliously derides." King praises to great length the Chipewyan chief Akaitcho who fed the starving parties of the first two Franklin expeditions and Back's third and without whose generosity Franklin would not have sailed on his last fateful journey. Arctic Bibliography 8708; Field 831; NMM 857 (ref); Sabin 37831 (calling for 7 plates); Staton & Tremaine/TPL 1899. SCARCE. (2)
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