Jarman, Robert. JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE TO THE SOUTH SEAS, IN THE "JAPAN," employed in the Sperm Whale Fishery, under the Command of Capt. John May. By Robert Jarman. First published at Beccles and London in 1838. Edited, with an Introduction, Notes, Chronology, and Index, by Robert M. Warneke, and faithfully reprinted from the original. Melbourne: Edition Renard 2009. 8vo, Special Limited New Edition; pp. XII, vi, 242, [243]-318; portrait, introduction, extensive notes, chronology, references and index; fully section-sewn on tapes and finely hand-bound in full grey goatskin, all edges dyed, with marker ribbon, housed in a buckram slipcase with title labels. Melbourne; Edition Renard; 2009.
***Special limited edition of 30 numbered copies only, within the overall limitation of 200 copies. A new edition of the very rare account first published in two issues in 1838 and until now never reprinted - see Forbes 1104, also Bagnall 2685 and Ferguson 2526 (and 2526a). Robert Jarman, the son of a printer at Beccles, joined the crew as a young man of twenty years on a whaling voyage to the South Seas in 1831. During the next three to four years young Robert's forecastle jottings were transformed into a lively and well-crafted tale. The primary theme is the hard, unrelenting search for whales, reflected in Jarman's methodical recording of encounters with other whalers and elaborated with graphic descriptions of the excitements and dangers of whaling with the inevitable accidents, injuries, and tragic deaths. After cruising the Japan Sea, the ship reached the Hawaiian Islands at the end of October 1832 and anchored at Honolulu. "The author noted 18 whalers in port. He describes the harbor and the method by which ships were towed in, and the Honolulu Fort, and the town and its native people" (Forbes). He tells also of surviving gales and near disaster when the Japan was dismasted in a hurricane, which forced the stricken ship to Sydney for extensive repairs. Jarman gives an interesting account of Sydney, with perceptive comments on convicts and their management and the Aboriginals and their customs including the use of the boomerang. Subsequently the ship cruised around Rotuma, the Fiji Islands and New Zealand before returning to England. Along the way Jarman gives accounts of visits to bays and islands to trade for fresh provisions, and of longer stays at various ports for wood, water and to benefit the crew. A welcome respite from the rigors and grinding repetition of shipboard life, Jarman was obviously captivated by those of the natives who were friendly, and he perceptively and sympathetically described their modes of life, customs, and the effects of European intercourse and colonization. The scope and appeal of this book is enhanced by some lengthy passages on natural history, including observations on the social behaviour of sperm whales and encounters with sharks, other fish and birds. Because of several chance but pertinent events he was able to include commentaries on several dramatic episodes of Pacific maritime history, such as the Bligh mutiny and its aftermath, and recent massacres of ships crews by islanders -- a constant fear for lightly-armed visiting whalers. #27822

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