“AT 6 A.M. WE SAW STRANGE SAILS, A SHIP OF WAR”: JOURNAL OF THE CAPTURE OF MISSIONARIES IN THE SOUTH SEAS
GREGORY, William. A Visible Display of Divine Providence; or, the Journal of a Captured Missionary, Designated to the Southern Pacific Ocean, in the Second Voyage of the Ship Duff. Greensburg: John M. Snowden, 1804. Small octavo, contemporary full brown sheep. $550.
First American edition of this harrowing account of the second missionary voyage to the South Pacific.
First published in London in 1800, Gregory’s Journal of a Captured Missionary recounts the ill-fated second voyage of the missionary vessel Duff to the South Sea Islands in 1798. It had been only the second attempted missionary voyage to the Pacific. A year earlier the Duff had undertaken its successful first voyage, resettling members of the London Missionary Society and their families on the islands of Tahiti, Tonga and the Marquesas. This second attempt, however, had gone disastrously awry. First captured by a French privateer who mistook the Duff for a ship taking Governor King to Australia, and then a second time by a Portuguese fleet, the group was forced to return to Lisbon where the missionary voyage was abandoned. In addition to details of treatment in captivity, Gregory describes native life in the “enemy port” of Montevideo and the surrounding rich estuary of the Rio de la Plata, its “produce, inhabitants, dress, customs, commerce [and] religion.” Shaw & Shoemaker 6422. Contemporary owner signatures.
Faint dampstaining, page 199 torn with minor loss of text, joints of period sheep reinforced, small piece of spine lost. A very good copy.