St. Petersburg: Naval Typ. 1832. Item #1187
[2 – t.p.], [4 – two dedication leaves], [2 – Preface for Navigators], [6 – table of contents], 275, [1 – errata] pp. Octavo (21x13,5 cm). Mistake in pagination with p. 96 being followed by p. 98, but no gap in text (see: Lada-Mocarski, 96). With a folding copper engraved map at rear. Period style brown half sheep with marbled papered boards, spine with gilt-tooled ornaments and a gilt-lettered title. Title page with a 19th-century ink private library number, Title page with some minor expert repair of lower blank margin, and map with some minor expert repair of folds, otherwise a very good copy of this rare book.
First and only edition. Rare Russian imprint with 12 paper copies found in Worldcat.
First and only edition of the account of an early and important Russian circumnavigation, with the description of the first Russian visit to Tasmania and interesting notes on Russian America, California, and Tahiti. The book also contains an account of a visit to the Rio de Janeiro residence of Georg von Langsdorff, a participant of the first Russian circumnavigation (1803-1806) and Russian consul in Brazil (1813-1830). The book’s author was the commander of the sloop “Ladoga” Andrey Petrovich Lazarev, navigator and explorer from a notable Russian naval family. Both he and his two younger brothers Mikhail (1788-1851) and Alexey (1793 – after 1851) graduated from the Naval Cadet Corps in Saint Petersburg and had successful careers in the navy. Mikhail Lazarev commanded frigate “Suvorov” during his first circumnavigation (a voyage to New Archangel via Rio de Janeiro, southern Indian Ocean, and the Pacific, with a stop in Port Jackson; on the way to Alaska he discovered the Suvorov/Suwarrow atoll in the northern group of the Cook Islands). In 1819-1821, Mikhail Lazarev commanded sloop “Mirny” during the First Russian Antarctic Expedition of Fabian von Bellingshausen, which resulted in the discovery of the Antarctic continent. Andrey’s younger brother Alexey Lazarev took part in the Russian circumnavigation of 1819-23 when sloops “Otkrytiye” and “Blagonamerenny” under command of Mikhail Vasilyev and Gleb Shishmaryov were searching for the Northwest Passage from the west coast of America, navigating Bering Strait and exploring Alaskan coast from Kotzebue Sound to Icy Cape and from Norton Sound to Cape Newenham.
On the circumnavigation “Ladoga” was accompanied by Russian frigate “Kreiser” under command of Andrey’s younger brother Mikhail Lazarev. The ships went to the Pacific Ocean via Rio de Janeiro and the southern Indian Ocean, sighting Saint Paul Island, and for the first time in the history of the Russian fleet visited Tasmania (stayed for a rest in Hobart, on 18 May-9 June 1823 O.S.). During the storm in the south Pacific, the ships got separated and met in Tahiti’s Matavai Bay on 15 July. From there “Kreiser” proceeded to Russian America, and “Ladoga” – to Kamchatka (arrived on 10 September). From Petropavlovsk “Ladoga” went to New Archangel (arrived on 9 November) and thence to San Francisco (arrived on 1 December), starting a homebound voyage together with sloop “Apollon” on 12 January 1824. “Ladoga” returned home via Cape Horn, Rio de Janeiro and the Fayal Island (the Azores). Frigate “Kreiser” left Sitka in October 1824 and proceeded to California where she stayed for a month and then went home via Cape Horn and Rio de Janeiro. Fragments of the account of the “Kreiser’s” voyage were published in the “Proceedings of the State Admiralty Department” (SPb., 1824, part VI, pp. 457-466), thus Andrey Lazarev’s book is the only complete published account of the voyage.
The book consists of 11 chapters, with chapters 2, 9 and 10 dedicated to Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina Island), chapter 3 – to Tasmania, chapter 4 – to Tahiti, chapter 5 – to Kamchatka, chapter 6 – to New Archangel, and chapter 7 – to California. Extensive passages were written by the ship’s doctor Peter Ogiyevsky (enclosed in quotation marks), particularly on local geography, flora and fauna. Very interesting are the descriptions of the “Mandioka” estate of Georg von Langsdorff near Rio de Janeiro; Tasmania (topography and population of Hobart Town, prices for groceries, life of convicts, mention of a Russian-speaking convict living in Hobart Town, festive dinner organized in honour of “Kreiser” and “Ladoga” et al.); Tahiti (trade with the natives, visit of the Tahitian royal family to the ship, including the infant king Pomare III (1820-27), missionaries and their activities, Christian churches, Tahitians’ interest to the Russian priest and Orthodox services, endemic diseases et al.); Kamchatka (new construction in the Petropavlovsk harbor, new custom of the autumn feast with the produce from the native vegetable gardens introduced by Peter Rikord, Kamchadal pagan rite performed by a local shaman, a trip to the nearby Paratunka thermal springs and chemical analysis of the water; meeting with Peter Dobell, former Russian Consul General in Manila who had previously attempted to claim some of the Hawaiian Islands for Russia, et al.); Russian America (New Archangel port, brief history of the Russian-American company, the interior of the Company’s fort in New Archangel; manners, customs and beliefs of Koloshis or Tlingits, Company’s fur trade with the Tlingits and Aleuts, harsh native ways of children upbringing, popularity of polygamy amongst the Tlingits, Tlingit dance and dress, native slaves or “Kalgi,” suggestions on the improvement of the life of Aleuts, et al.); Spanish California (San Francisco harbor, Catholic missions, abuse and oppression of the native population by the missionaries, history and modern life of the San Francisco mission, bull fighting, Mexican War of Independence and the First Mexican Empire, Russian American Company’s trade in California – furs in exchange for grain, beaver hunting in the San Francisco Bay by the RAC’s Aleuts from Fort Ross); Santa Catarina Island off the southern coast of Brazil and its capital Nossa Senhora do Desterro (Florianopolis since 1893: local trade, city architecture, military forces, the establishment of the Empire of Brazil, whaling in the coastal waters); and Rio de Janeiro (port, naval squadron of the Brazilian Empire, Lord Thomas Cochrane and his service for the Brazilian navy, Corpus Domini ceremony in Rio de Janeiro with participation of the Emperor, a visit to the plantation of Russian vice-consul Peter Kelchen). The book is illustrated with a “Map to the Account of the Travel of Captain Lazarev in the duration of 1822, 1823 and 1824”, the trek of the sloop from Russia to Kamchatka is indicated with the solid line, the return voyage – with dotted lines.
“The Ladoga was first directed to Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka, subsequently visiting the Russian colonies in America, particularly Sitka. Pp. 126-76 are devoted to the description of this part of the voyage. Pp. 177-99 (December 1823-January 1824) have an interesting description of San Francisco and descriptions of that country’s flora and fauna. It is worth noting that previously (May 1823) the Kreiser and the Ladoga spent three weeks at Hobart, Tasmania, the first Russian vessels to visit there. They were received most hospitable by the local authorities. In addition to his own observations and remarks, Lazarev often quoted the ship’s doctor Ogievskii, who according to Lazarev was most helpful in the preparation of the present narrative. Ogievskii, obviously an intelligent and well-educated person, contributed a great deal to the description of various places visited by the expedition and not specifically mentioned in this annotation – Tahiti, Rio de Janeiro (including much information on the culture of coffee), etc. Dr. Ogievskii’s contribution is always enclosed by Lazarev in quotation marks. The chapter on Alaska is, however, entirely of Lazarev’s authorship. Practically all of the narrative on the Ladoga’s stay in California comes from Lazarev’s pen” (Lada-Mocarski, 96).
Howes 160, Wickersham 6253.