14 December 2000
RAE, John (1813-1893). Narrative of an Expedition to the Shores of the Arctic Sea in 1846 and 1847. London: T. and W. Boone, 1850.
8o (222 x 142 mm). 8 pp. publisher's advertisements at end. 2 lithographic folding maps, colored by hand in outline. Original green blind-decorated cloth (front hinge cracked, spine lightly faded, some wear along joints). Provenance: Copley Amory (bookplate and label on front pastedown).
FIRST EDITION OF THIS SCARCE VOLUME. Rae joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1833, serving at Moose Factory from 1834 to 1843. In 1844 he traveled to complete the survey of the northern arctic coast from Repulse Bay to the Castor and Pollux River about sixty miles east of the Back River, and to examine the Boothia. The expedition here detailed was mounted by only ten men in two boats who managed to discover and survey 700 miles of Arctic coastline around Committee Bay and the Simpson Peninsula. His narrative gives an account of his discovery that the Boothia was a peninsula and details the journeys northwestward around Committee Bay, Simpson Peninsula, Pelly Bay and its islands, as far west as the James Ross Peninsula, and northeastward along Melville Peninsula to Cape Crozier. "As with all other expeditions by land to the Arctic Ocean, the success of this was attributable largely to the aid derived from the Red Indians and the Esquimaux" (Field). Rae subsequently participated in a number of Franklin search expeditions, and in 1854 was the first to discover the fate of the expedition from a group of Esquimaux who sold him a number of Franklin relics. Arctic Bibliography 14097; Field 1253; Graff 3415; Lande 1405; NMM 899; Sabin 67428; Staton & Tremaine 2868/TPL; Wagner-Camp 187.
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