ARCTIC BLUE BOOKS. Extensive collection of 19th-century British Parliamentary papers relating to Arctic exploration.
Lot 2133
ARCTIC BLUE BOOKS. Extensive collection of 19th-century British Parliamentary papers relating to Arctic exploration.
Sold for US$ 68,500 inc. premium
Lot Details
ARCTIC BLUE BOOKS.
Extensive collection of 19th-century British Parliamentary papers relating to Arctic exploration. 42 articles bound in six volumes. Large 4to (330 x 200 mm). Variously illustrated with maps, plates and tables. Period brown cloth,spines gilt-lettered. Some covers started, scattered few repairs, spine cloth chipped on one, bookplates and shelf numbers on spines of Lynn Public Library.

FIRST EDITIONS OF A SUBSTANTIAL COLLECTION OF ARCTIC BLUE BOOKS: THE SINGLE-MOST IMPORTANT PRIMARY SOURCE FOR ARCTIC STUDIES. The present set, including 38 of the 46 items listed in the Arctic Bibliography, as well as two not listed there, represents by far the most comprehensive run we have been able to locate for public sale. Given that these papers were published as part of the Parliamentary Papers, over 50,000 items most of which concerned matters not related to Exploration (let alone the Arctic), it is unsurprising that nearly a century passed before an index of the Arctic papers was produced. These Arctic papers can be said to be at the opposite end of a spectrum from the more populist first person narratives prone to self-promotion and sensationalism; here we have reports submitted to the Authorities rather than the eager public. In addition to the expected accounts of voyages, geographical and topographical information, significant space is given to the practical business of exploration (preserved meats, preventing scurvy, etc). A wide range of illustrations printed in a variety of means complement many volumes. It is difficult to sum up the breadth of information included, but there is significant detail on the Franklin expedition and subsequent searches, including detailed lists of artifacts found as well as conflicting accounts of Franklin and his crews demise. Later reports detail George Strong Nares' Challenger expedition, a landmark in the history of undersea exploration.
Lieut. Commander R.T. Gould, R.N., has written of the Arctic Blue Books as follows: "They are a most singular collection. A complete set [of the Arctic Blue Books] would rival in bulk the four Shakespeare Folios, and contain even more words, of all kinds, than the minutes of the Royal Oak court-martial (happily left unprinted). Nothing like selection appears to have been attempted—every scrap of paper that found its way into official channels, from the most valuable hydrographic and other information down to begging letters and mediumistic ravings, was sure to be cast up in one of these Blue Books, in an order partly chronological, largely fortuitous, and, as a whole, defying analysis. In many cases the Blue Books must now be regarded as the best procurable authorities, the original documents from which they were compiled being no longer extant—but they are by no means easy reading, and probably never were, even in their heyday, widely read" (Gould, 1928, p. 87).
References: Taylor, Andrew. British Parliamentary Papers on Exploration in the Canadian Arctic.... Reprinted from Arctic Bibliography vol. VIII. (AB in list below).
Staton, Frances M. and Marie Tremaine. A Bibliography of Canadiana. Toronto Public Library, 1934. (TPL in list below). Note that on items 29 and 30 there is disagreement on plate count, etc. Presumably other discrepancies will exist.

Footnotes

  • VOLUME I
    1. Estimates &c. for Miscellaneous Services; for the Year Ending 31 March 1834. House of Commons, 1834 . 9 pp. Not in AB[?]
    2. CAPTAIN ROSS. An Estimate of the Sum Required to Enable His Majesty to Make a Grant to Captain Ross. House of Commons, 1834. 1 f. AB 45214.
    3. Arctic Expedition. Return to an address of the Honorable the House of Commons, Dated 21 March, for: Copies of instructions to Captain Sir John Franklin, in reference to the arctic expedition of 1845; to any officer or officers appointed by the Admiralty on any Expedition in search of Captain John Franklin... House of Commons, 1848 . 82 pp, 1 f. 5 folded maps. AB 45216.
    4. Arctic Expedition, North Star. Expenses of the estimates of the equipment of Her Majesty's Ship North Star; and copy of minute of the Board of Admiralty respecting the equipment of the North Star, for the purpose of taking out a supply of provisions... House of Commons, 1849. 2 pp. AB 45218.
    5. Arctic Expeditions. Return to an Order of the Honourable the House of Commons, Dated 15 March 1849, for; Extracts of any proceedings or correspondence of the Admiralty in reference to the Arctic expedition, in continuation of Parliamentary Papers... House of Commons, 1849 . 26 pp., 1 f. [see item 6] AB 45219.
    6. Arctic Expedition. Return to an Address of the Honourable the House of Commons, dated 11 June 1849, for; Copy of any communication from Her Majesty's Consul at Washington to Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs House of Commons, 1849 . 2 pp. [bound after p. 24 of item 5] AB 45221.
    7. Arctic Expeditions. Further Return to an Order of the Honourable House of Commons, Dated 15 March 1849... Return of the opinions of the most experienced officers connected with Arctic expeditions, on the necessity of sending a ship to the ... House of Commons, 1849. 10 pp, 1 f. AB 45220.
    8. Arctic Expedition. Copy of Report form Sir John Richardson, Dated Fort Confidence, Great Bear Lake, 16th September 1848, reporting his proceedings in search of Sir John Franklin's expedition. House of Commons, 1849. 3, [1] pp. AB 45222.
    9. Arctic Expedition. Return of an Order of the Honourable the House of Commons, Dated 5 February 1850, for; Copies of any reports or statements from the officers employed in the arctic expeditions...in respect to the resumption of the search for Sir .. House of Commons, 1850. vi, 157 pp. One plate and two folded maps. AB 45223.
    10. Arctic Expedition. Return to an Order of the Honourable the House of Commons, Dated 12 April 1850, for; An account of the charge for purchase, repair and outfit of the vessels now fitting for the arctic expedition. House of Commons, 1850. 2 pp. AB 45224.
    11. Arctic Expeditions. Return to an Address of the Honourable the House of Commons, Dated 10 May 1850, for; Copies of instructions from the Admiralty to Captain Austin, and to any other officers in Her Majesty's service engaged in arctic expeditions ... House of Commons, 1850. 6 pp. AB 45225.
    12. Arctic Expeditions: Return to an Address of Honorable House of Commons,, dated 7 February 1851, for; Copy or extracts from any correspondence or proceedings of the Board of Admiralty in relation to the arctic expeditions, including those most recently House of Commons, 1851. iv, 105, [1] pp. Two folded maps. AB 45226.
    VOLUME II
    13. Preserved Meats, Navy. Returns (to an order of the Honorable the House of Commons, dated 5 February 1852) showing the date, and terms of all contracts for preserved meates for the use of Her Majesty's Navy; also the quantities fit for use... House of Commons, 1852. 6 pp. AB 45231.
    14. Arctic Expeditions. Return to an Address of the Honourable the House of Commons, Dated 20 February 1852, for; Papers in connection with the late arctic expeditions, or with any which may be in preparation. House of Commons, 1852. 17, [1] pp. AB 45232.
    15. Arctic Expeditions. Return to an Order of the Honourable the House of Commons,, Dated 6 April 1852, for; Copy of the report of Dr. Rae, of the proceedings of the arctic searching expedition under his command, since the 10th day of June last... House of Commons, 1852. 9, [1] pp, 1 f. One colored folded map. AB 45233; TPL 3250.
    16. Arctic Expeditions. Return to an Order of the Honourable the House of Commons, Dated 4 May 1852, for; A return of the sailing orders given to Sir Edward Belcher relating to the arctic expedition. House of Commons, 1852. 3, [1] pp. AB 45234.
    17. Arctic Expedition: Further correspondence and proceedings connected with the arctic expedition. Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1852. 216 pp. 3 maps, one of which is a particularly nicely colored folded map. AB 45229 ("Major document"); TPL 3257. (AB calls for 4 maps, TPL has 3 as did the only other copy at auction).
    18. Vessels in the North Atlantic. Return to an address of the Honorable the House of Commons, dated 4 June 1852, for; Copies of communications between the Admiralty and any public authorities at home or abroad, in reference to certain vessels observed... House of Commons, 1852. 38, [1] pp. One plate, one folded map. AB 45236.
    19. Arctic Expeditions. Return to an Address of the Honourable the House of Commons,, Dated 19 November 1852, for; Copies of any correspondence received at the Admiralty from Sir Edward Belcher's squadron ... and from any other of the arctic expeditions.. House of Commons, 1852. iv, 88, [2] pp. 3 folded maps. AB 45238; TPL 3254.
    20. Ship Rattlesnake. Return to an Order of the Honourable the House of Commons, Dated 27 April 1853, for; Copies of extracts of any minutes or other documents connected with the selection by the late Board of Admiralty of the ship Rattlesnake.... House of Commons, 1853. 3, [1] pp. AB 45239.
    21. Arctic regions. Return to an order of the Honorable the House of Commons, dated 1 August 1853, for: Copies of the sailing orders and instructions to Commander Inglefield, of Her Majesty's Ship Phoenix, employed in the Arctic Regions;... House of Commons, 1853. 3, [1] pp. AB 45240.
    22. Arctic Expeditions. Return to an address of the Honourable the House of Commons,, dated 17 March 1854, for; Copy of letter addressed by lady Franklin to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, dated the 24th day of February 1854... House of Commons, 1854. 12, [2] pp. Contains Lady Franklin's protest of the removal of names from the Franklin expedition from the list of those having died in Her Majesties Service. AB 45242.
    23. Arctic Expedition. Return to an order of the honorable the House of Commons, dated 4 April 1854, for: Copies of any instructions to... to the commanders of Her Majesty's Ships now engaged in the arctic regions in the search for Sir John Franklin... House of Commons, 1854. 3, [1] pp. AB 45243.
    24. Arctic Expedition. Instructions from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty for the Arctic Expedition House of Commons, 1854. 3, [1] pp. AB 45244.
    25. Arctic Expeditions: Papers Relative to the Recent Arctic Expeditions in Search of Sir John Franklin and the crews of HMS Erebus and Terror. Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1854. [2], 225, [1] pp. Five folded maps, many large woodcuts in text. Last map with tears. AB 45241; TPL 3441.
    26. Arctic Expeditions. Return to an Order of the Honourable the House of Commons, Dated 29 March 1855, for; A return to the cost of the "Further Papers relative to the recent arctic expeditions" presented to both Houses of Parliament... House of Commons, 1854-55. 1 f. AB 45247.
    27. Report of the Select Committee on Arctic Expedition; together with the proceedings of the Committee, minutes of evidence and appendix... House of Commons, 1855. xx, 35, [1] pp. , 1 f. Finely colored folded map. AB 45248.
    VOLUME III
    28. Arctic Expeditions. Report of the Committee Appointed by the Lords Commissioner of the Admiralty to enquire into and report on the recent arctic expeditions in search of Sir John Franklin, together with minutes of evidence taken before the Committee. Eyre & Spottswoode 1852. liv, [1], [2], 199, [1] pp. Two folded maps. AB 45227; TPL 3255.
    29. Additional papers relative to the arctic expedition under the orders of Captain Austin and Mr. William Penny. Eyre & Spottswoode, 1852. iii, [1], 368 pp. Eleven plates or charts, five folded maps, profuse woodcuts within text. AB 45228; TPL 3256.
    30. Arctic Expedition. Further Correspondence and Proceedings connected with the Arctic Expedition. Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1852. 216 pp. Three maps, one a nicely colored folded map. Duplicate of no. 17.
    VOLUME IV
    31. Arctic Expedition: Further papers relative to the recent arctic expeditions in search of Sir John Franklin and the crews of HMS Erebus & Terror. Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1855. iv, 958, [2] pp. (NOTE 1-272/280-958) 17 folding maps, 15 plates or charts, profuse woodcuts including pp. 449-468 being full page woodcuts. AB 45245; TPL 3549.
    32. Further Papers Relative to the recent arctic expeditions in search of Sir J. Franklin, and the crews of... Erebus and Terror; including the reports of Dr. Kane and Messrs. Anderson and Stewart; and correspondence relative to the adjudication of ... Harrison and Sons 1856. Title, [3pp. POSSIBLY OF ANOTHER WORK?], + 95, [1] pp. Two maps. AB 45249; TPL 3659.
    33. Arctic Expedition. Supplementary estimate of Her Majesty's Navy for the year 1874-75. An estimate of the sum required to defray the charges on account of the arctic expedition which shall come in course of payment in the year ending the 31st March... House of Commons, 1875. 3, [1] pp. AB 45253.
    34. Correspondence Respecting HMS Resolute, and the Arctic Expedition. Harrison and Sons, 1858. [2], 39, [1] pp. AB 45250; TPL 3812.
    VOLUME V
    35. Report of the Committee Appointed by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to enquire into the causes of the outbreak of Scurvy in the recent arctic expedition; the adequacy of the ...food, medicine, and medical comforts; and the propriety of the orders given by the commander of the expedition for provisioning of sledge parties... Harrison and Sons, 1877. lv, [1], 505 pp. 1 folded color plate, 8 plates (ship plans). AB 45256.
    36. Arctic Expedition (Scurvy). Copy of the Letter addressed by the Admiralty to Captain George S. Nares, R.N.,K.C.B., on the subject of the outbreak of Scurvy in the Arctic Expedition, 1875-6. House of Commons, 1877. 2 pp. Not in AB[?].
    37. Arctic Expedition. Results Derived from the Arctic Expedition, 1875-76: I, Physical Observations by Captain Sir George Nares, and Captain Feilden, etc.; II, medical report on the Eskimo dog disease, by Fleet Surgeon B. Ninnis. Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1878. 156 pp. 15 colored folded plates. AB 45257.
    VOLUME VI
    38. Arctic Expedition. Papers and Correspondence Relating to the Equipment and Fitting Out of the Arctic Expedition of 1875, Including a Report of the Admiralty Arctic Committee Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1875. 40 pp. AB 45251.
    39. Chart to accompany Papers and correspondence relating to the equipment and fitting out of the arctic expedition of 1875. Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1875. Title page, large folded colored map, blank leaf. AB 45252.
    40. Arctic Expedition. Supplementary estimate of Her Majesty's Navy for the year 1874-75. an estimate of the sum required to defray the charges on account of the arctic expedition which shall come in course of payment in the year ending the 31st March... House of Commons, 1875. 3, [1] pp. (Title torn at top margin.) Duplicate of no. 33.
    41. Arctic Expedition. Further papers and correspondence of Parliamentary Paper C-1153 of 1875 Eyre & Spottiswoode 1876. 25, [1] pp. AB 45254.
    42. Arctic Expedition, 1875-6. Journals and proceedings of the arctic expedition 1875-6, under the command of Sir George S. Nares; in continuation of Parliamentary papers C-1153 of 1875 and C-1560 of 1876. Harrison and Sons, 1877. vii, [1], 484 pp. 30 folded maps and plates, 2 plates, plentiful woodcuts in text. AB 45255.
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