St. Petersburg: Morskaya Typ. 1854. Item #247
Second enlarged edition. , c, 150 pp. 17,5x11 cm. Contemporary brown half leather with marbled papered boards, new endpapers. Papers lightly age toned, barely visible water stain on several leaves at end of text, but overall a very good copy of this rare book.
Very rare imprint with only five copies found in Worldcat. Special enlarged edition of Mikhail Lomonosov’s (1711-1765) project on the exploration of the Northeast Passage, supplemented with the description of two Russian expeditions to the Arctic and Pacific Oceans which were organized on the basis of this project in 1765-66 under command of Vasily Chichagov (1726-1809). The expeditions aimed to find the sea route to the Pacific along the Arctic coast of Siberia and departed from Spitsbergen, but in both cases couldn’t proceed far due to the impenetrable ice.
The book includes the text of Lomonosov’s project (discovered and first published only in 1847), description of Chichagov’s expeditions and several official documents related to it: Imperial decree, official Instruction to Chichagov, correspondence between Lomonosov and Admiralty officials, reports and resolutions by the Admiralty, as well as later descriptions of the expedition made by Gerhard Mueller and Adam von Krusenstern. All supporting documents were discovered in the Admiralty archive in the 1840s. The first edition contains only the text of Lomonosov’s project and no information about Chichagov’s expedition.
“The second part consists of Lomonosov’s important memorandum on the North East Passage, in which he tied Russia’s development to the opening of new naval trade routes, and asserted the feasibility of passage through the Arctic into to Pacific Ocean. Lomonosov succeeded in persuading the Admiralty College to launch two voyages under the command of Vasilii Chichagov. Both attempts were halted by pack ice. Introduction by A. Sokolov” (Christies).
“Lomonosov, the versatile scientist and member of the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences, was much interested in an attempt to find the Northeast Passage, over the Arctic Ocean to the Pacific. The present work has five chapters, the first entitled: History of various sea voyages, undertaken to find the passage to East India, over the northwestern seas. The second: History of attempts to find a sea passage to India, from the northeastern approach, over the Arctic (“Siberian”) Ocean. The third: Possibility of a sea passage over the Arctic (“Siberian”) Ocean to East India, recognizable by natural phenomena. The fourth: Preparations necessary for a sea voyage over the Siberian Ocean. The fifth: Project of undertaking the northern sea route and of confirming and extending the Russian power in the East. In Appendix One, Lomonosov suggests the best point from which to start the expedition and the preparations necessary for it, etc. In Appendix Two are recited the latest reports of the Russian promyshlenniki regarding discoveries of islands belonging to the Aleutian chain which confirmed Lomonosov in his belief of the feasibility of his project” (Lada-Mocarski 128).
The preface to the book was written by Alexander Petrovich Sokolov (1816-1858), a noted historian of the Russian fleet, known for “Russian Maritime Library” - the first comprehensive attempt of Russian bibliography on naval and maritime topics (first published in parts in the “Zapiski of the Hydrographical Department,” 1847-1852; first separate edition in 1883), and others. Lada-Mocarski 128 (about the first edition).