A Brief Narrative of an Unsuccessful Attempt to Reach Repulse Bay …
A Brief Narrative of an Unsuccessful Attempt to Reach Repulse Bay …

LYON, Captain George Francis. A Brief Narrative of an Unsuccessful Attempt to Reach Repulse Bay, through Sir Thomas Rowe's "Welcome", in His Majesty's Ship Griper, in the Year MDCC….

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LYON, Captain George Francis. A Brief Narrative of an Unsuccessful Attempt to Reach Repulse Bay, through Sir Thomas Rowe's "Welcome", in His Majesty's Ship Griper, in the Year MDCCXXIV. London, William Clowes for John Murray, 1825.

8vo. Contemporary English half calf gilt over marbled boards, spine gilt in compartments, gilt morocco lettering-piece; pp. xvi, 198, [2 (list of plates, imprint on verso)]; one engraved folding map by J. Walker after E.N. Kendall, 6 engraved plates by Edward Finden after Lyon and Kendall, one engraved diagram, and wood-engraved illustrations and letterpress tables in the text; extremities very lightly rubbed and bumped causing minimal surface loss at corners, some variable, generally light, offsetting or spotting, nonetheless a fresh copy in a contemporary binding.
First edition. The naval officer and explorer Lyon (1795-1832), joined Sir William Parry's second expedition to search for the North-West Passage, taking command of HMS Hecla. This expedition 'entered the Arctic region through Hudson Strait, examined Repulse Bay and the neighbouring coast of Melville peninsula, and wintered at a small island to the eastward of the Frozen Strait. The next summer they went further north and entered Fury and Hecla Strait, but the season being then far advanced they turned back, wintered at Igloolik (lat. 69°21' N, long. 81°44' W), and came home in autumn 1823, as signs of scurvy among the crew made it inadvisable to stay' (ODNB). Lyon was advanced to captain on 13 November 1823, and his narrative The Private Journal of Captain G.F. Lyon … during the Recent Voyage of Discovery under Captain Parry was issued in 1824.
In the same year, Lyon took command of HMS Griper (which had participated in Parry's first voyage of 1819), with instructions 'to reach Repulse Bay by whatever route he judged best, and from it to examine the coast of the mainland westward to the point where John Franklin's voyage had ended its survey' (op. cit.) -- however, the expedition was frustrated by the unfavourable weather conditions and forced to return. Lyon published his account of the expedition in 1825 in the present work, which is prefaced by his official instructions from the Admiralty and Earl Bathurst, and concludes with an appendix by Professor Peter Barlow of the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich on the magnetic variation recorded by the expedition and anomalies in those records; a tabular 'Abstract of the Days' Work'; and a 'Botanical Appendix' by Sir William Jackson Hooker, which describes 53 species collected by Lyon. A Brief Narrative is also notable for the information it gives on the indigenous peoples Lyon encountered - Hill comments that he 'gives interesting accounts of the Eskimos of the Southampton Islands, immediately north of Hudson's Bay' - and one of the plates is of 'Esquimaux Likenesses', with six portraits by Lyon.
Arctic Bibliography 10530; Chavanne 4797; Field 962; Hill (2004) 1055; Lowndes p. 1422; Sabin 42851; Staton and Tremaine 1324.

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