St. Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences, 1856. Item #1189
Vol. XX, No. 1. January. Large Octavo (ca. 25,5x17 cm). , iv, lxiv, 64, 218, 80, 32, 25 pp. With two chromolithographed plates and two lithographed maps (two folding). Original beige publisher’s illustrated wrappers. Old library stamp on verso of the title page, wrappers lightly soiled, minor tears on the spine, but overall a very good uncut copy in very original condition.
First edition. A beautiful copy of an early issue of “Morskoy Sbornik” (“Naval Digest,” SPB., 1848 – present day) - the main Russian naval periodical of the 19th century and the official periodical of the modern Russian Navy. This issue contains an important account of the Russian diplomatic mission to Japan and the establishment of official relations between Russia and Japan in January/February 1855. There are also three articles about the latest events on the Crimean War’s Pacific theatre just a couple of months before the war ended (March 30, 1856). The four articles related to the Russian Navy in the Pacific are:
a) “Account of the voyage of the frigate “Pallada,” schooner “Vostok,” corvette “Olivutsa,” and transport “Knyaz Menshikov” under the command of General-Adjutant Putyatin, in 1852, 1853 and 1854, with the addition of the account of the voyage of the frigate “Diana” in 1853, 1854 and 1855” (the article retells that “Pallada” with several Russian naval ships under the general command of Vice-Admiral Putyatin went on a special mission to establish diplomatic relations with Japan, and was replaced with “Diana” due to numerous breakages in May 1854; the ships went from Kronstadt to Nagasaki via the Cape of Good Hope, Singapore and Hong Kong; also visited the Ryukyu Islands, Manila, and Russian Far East; the ground-breaking Shimoda Treaty with Japan was signed in February 1855; “Diana” was irreparably damaged and sunk after the tsunami which hit the port of Shimoda in December 1854);
b) “About the voyage in the Eastern Ocean of General-Adjutant Putyatin and Vice-Admiral Zavoyko” (the article is about the evacuation of the port of Petropavlovsk to the new post of Nikolayevsk in the Amur River estuary after the attacks by the allied British and French fleet in August 1854, the encounter of the Russian and British ships in the De-Castries/Chikhachyov Bay in the Strait of Tartary, and the escape of the Russian vessels through the Strait of Nevelskoy which disclosed to the British ships that Sakhalin was not a peninsula, but an island; and about Admiral Putyatin’s voyage to Russia after the wreck of “Diana” onboard the new vessel built with the help of the Japanese people in Shimoda); the article is illustrated with the plans of the De-Castries Bay and the Strait of Nevelskoy showing the disposition of Russian and British naval ships; c) “Reviews of the foreign newspapers on the actions of the Allied fleet against the Russian squadron in the Eastern Ocean” (British “United Service Gazette” called the escape of the Russian ships from De-Castries Bay “a disgrace” for the British flag);
d) “Description of the Nagasaki Port” compiled by a member of Putyatin’s expedition.
Other materials in the issue include: Government decrees and acts; the latest relations from Crimea, the Black Sea, and Asiatic Turkey; an article about late Admiral Nakhimov who commanded Russian defence in Sevastopol (with a lithographed portrait of Nakhimov on deathbed); a note about the attack by the British ships on Yeysk in the Sea of Azov; an analysis of the latest movements of the enemy ships in the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic, and South-China Seas; a list of new books on naval topics; a list of the wounded sailors moved from Sevastopol to Nikolayev in August 1855, etc. The volume is also illustrated with a plan of the naval battle near Riga on July 29, 1855, and a lithographed view showing the bombardment of Sveaborg (Suomenlinna fort, Helsinki) by the Anglo-French forces in August 1855.