St. Petersburg: Typ. Of N. Grech, 1851. Item #585
Second edition. Three vols. bound together. , vii-xxxvi, , 203; , 148; , 120 pp. 24,5x17cm. With a steel engraved frontispiece and two folding engraved maps at rear. Period half leather with marbled paper boards and a gilt lettered title on the spine. Frontispiece portrait backed with paper, two leaves in vol. 1 (pp. Xxvii-xxx) with the lower margins trimmed, but not affecting the text; p. 17 in vol. 1 with a weak ink stamp, mild foxing of text in places, but overall a very good copy.
Important firsthand account on the early history of the Russian-Japanese relations closely connected with the first Russian circumnavigation (1803-1806) under command of Ivan Krusenstern and the activity of the Russian-American Company promoted by Count Nikolai Rezanov (1764-1807). This is a full description of the notorious diplomatic Incident of Golovnin (1811-1813) which occurred in the very beginning of the Russian-Japanese relations, written by one of its main participants.
Count Nikolai Rezanov took part in the Krusenstern’s circumnavigation with the goal to deliver the first Russian embassy to Japan and to establish the diplomatic relations between the countries. The embassy was unsuccessful, and in 1805 the Emperor of Japan prohibited Russian ships and subjects to approach Japanese shores. Following the instructions of irritated and insulted Rezanov in 1806- 1807 two ships of the Russian-American Company - “Yunona” and “Avos” under command of young navy officers Nikolas Khvostov and Gavriil Davydov sailed to the Japanese possessions on the Southern Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands and Hokkaido, robbed and burned the shore settlements, and captured several Japanese people. Although both Kvostov and Davydov were arrested as soon as they arrived to Okhotsk and were sent to St. Petersburg to be trialed, the attitude of Japanese to Russians evidently deteriorated; Russia was considering to prepare for a war with Japan. In 1808-1811 Russian sloop “Diana” under command of Vasily Golovnin (1776-1831) and Peter Ricord (second-in-command) was sent on a second official Russian circumnavigation to explore and describe the Russian Far East, Kamchatka and Alaska. Upon his return from Russian America in 1811 Golovnin sailed to chart the Kuril Islands. During a short stop at the Kunashir Island Golovnin, his two officers and four sailors were treacherously taken prisoners by Japanese,transported to the Hokkaido Island and were kept in prison near the town of Matsumae for over two years.
The book thoroughly and vividly describes the events from“Diana’s” departure from Kamchatka in April 1811 to the liberation of the captives by “Diana” and Peter Ricord in Hakodate in October 1813, giving a brief report on the previous history of Russian-Japanese relations and the actions of Khvostov and Davydov. The third part of the “Zapiski” is solely dedicated to Japan – its geographical location,climate, people, language, religion, administration, legal system, trade and industries, army, possessions and colonies.
The book is illustrated with a steel engraved portrait of Golovnin and a facsimile of his signature, and two folding engraved maps: “Map of the Sakhalin Sea with the Chain of all Kuril Islands, southern of which have been described in 1811 on the sloop Diana under command of the fleet captain Golovnin,” and “Map of the Treason Bay named so by Captain Rikord after the capture of Captain Golovnin on its shore (the bay is located on the southern part of the Kunashir Island).”
This second edition of the book is supplemented with an extensive biography of Golovnin specially written by Russian journalist and publisher Nikolai Gretsch (1787-1867). The biography contains information of Golovnin’s genealogy, education, naval and civil career,including concise descriptions of his service in the British Navy and both of his circumnavigations – on the sloop Diana (1808-11) and on the sloop Kamchatka (1817-19). The text describes Golovnin’s voyage to the New Archangel (Sitka) during the first circumnavigation (in 1810-11)with the cargo of bread, and his next travel to Alaska during his second circumnavigation (in 1819). ‘‘First part of Golovnin’s travel account has especially interesting information about Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Kodiak and California, description of the Sandwich Islands, Manila and an essay on the St. Helena, with detailed description of the precautions used by the Englishmen to make impossible the liberation of their prisoner. In the notes to the account very interesting is the refutation of the report of the committee of the American Congress about Russian colonies in North America” (pp. Xxv-xxvi).
Rare Russian imprint with 12 copies found in Worldcat (Library of Congress, Alaska State Library, Yale University, Harvard University, University of Alaska, Columbia University (New York), University of Washington, Florida State University, Berlin State Library, University of Leipzig, National Diet Library (Japan), Waseda University Library, Tokyo). First edition of the book was published in 1816 under the title “Zapiski of the Captain of the fleet Golovnin about his adventures in the Japanese captivity in 1811, 1812 and 1813” (Saint Petersburg, Morskaya Typ., 3 vols.; 12 copies found in Worldcat).
“V.M. Golovnin, one of the outstanding Russian naval officers of the nineteenth century, made several voyages to the North Pacific and to the northwest coast of America. He has left valuable accounts of his voyages and of the investigation of the state of the Russian colonies in America, which he conducted by order of the emperor in 1818” (Lada-Mokarski, #82).