St. Petersburg: Morskaya [Naval] Typ. 1816.
St. Petersburg: Morskaya [Naval] Typ., 1816. First Edition. Three parts of Golovnin’s work plus a work by Rikord, all bound in two volumes. Quarto. [2 – half-title], [2 – t.p.], [4 – two different dedications to Alexander I], [2 - preface], [2 – table of contents], [4 – list of Diana’s crew], 285, [1 - errata]; [2 – t.p.], [2 – table of contents], 206, [2 – advertising & errata]; [2 – t.p.], [2 – table of contents], 169, [1 - errata]; [2 – half-title], [2 – title page], [4 – two dedications to Alexander I], [2 – table of contents], 137, [1 - errata] pp. Golovnin’s work: with two folding copper engraved maps and a small printed sketch in text (vol. 1, p. 144). Rikord’s work: with four folding copper engraved maps and plans, and a lithographed portrait of Takadaya Kahei. Two volumes bound in period brown full calves; spines with mildly faded gilt-tooled decorative ornaments and gilt-lettered titles. Paper slightly age-toned and with occasional very mild foxing, spines with minor cracks on hinges neatly repaired, several bookshop stamps and notes on the rear pastedown endpapers, second volume with minor small holes on a couple of the blank margins of the leaves at the rear, but overall a very good set of these rare works.
Rare first edition of Vasily Golovnin’s famous account of his voyage and captivity in Japan in 1811-1812, supplemented by the book of his friend and subordinate, Captain Petr Rikord, who carried out Golovnin’s rescue operation in 1812-1813. A notable Russian explorer of the Pacific, in 1807-1814, Golovnin headed the Russian expedition to Kamchatka, Russian America and the Kurile Islands on board the sloop “Diana.” Although only completed in the eastern direction up to Sitka, Golovnin’s voyage is considered the third Russian circumnavigation, after the famous voyage of “Nadezhda” and “Neva” under the command of Adam von Krusenstern and Yuri Lisiansky in 1803-1806, and “Neva’s” voyage to Russian America under the command of L. Gagemeister in 1806-1809. It was also the first major Russian voyage to the Pacific, which used a ship completely built on a Russian wharf (“Diana” was built on the Svir River in the modern Leningrad oblast).
In summer 1811, Golovnin and several members of the “Diana’s” crew (navigator Khlebnikov, midshipman Moor/Moore and four sailors) were taken captive by the Japanese on the Kunashir Island (southern Kuriles) and were imprisoned for two years in Matsumae (Hokkaido). The main reason for what became known as the “Golovnin incident” were the raids on the Southern Sakhalin and the Kuriles, carried out in 1806-1807 by the Russian ships under the command of naval officers Nikolai Khvostov and Gavriil Davydov. The officers followed the orders of count Nikolai Rezanov (1764-1807), the first Russian ambassador to Japan and a participant of the first Russian circumnavigation, who was disappointed with the failure of his mission to Japan in 1805. Finally, Golovnin and the members of his party were released in 1813 after lengthy negotiations between the Japanese authorities and Golovnin’s second-in-command Petr Rikord. The leading facilitator was a Japanese merchant Takadaya Kahei, who, together with his ship Kanze-maru, was captured at sea by Rikord in 1812. Takadaya Kahei learned Russian and assisted during the negotiations, convincing the Japanese authorities to release their Russian captives.
The three-volume Golovnin’s account contains a captivating description of his imprisonment and life in Japan, the attempt of escape in March 1812 and final liberation in 1813. The third part of the book is entirely dedicated to Japan – geography, climate, language, manners and customs, religion, administration, laws, industry and trade, military, nations conquered by Japan and paying tribute. The maps include: “A map of the Sakhalin Sea with the chain of all Kurile Islands, of which the southern ones were described in 1811 by the sloop Diana under the command of fleet Captain Golovnin” (compiled by navigator Andrey Khlebnikov who stayed in captivity with Golovnin); and “A plan of the Izmena [Treason] Bay, called so by Captain Rikord after the Commander of the sloop Diana Captain Golovnin had been taken captive on its shore.”
Petr Rikord’s account starts with Golovnin’s capture in July 1811 and describes Rikord’s voyages and travels between Petropavlovsk, Okhotsk, Irkutsk, Kunashir, Edermo (Erimo, Hokkaido) and Hakodate (Hokkaido) until Golovnin’s release in October 1813. Interesting notes are dedicated to the history of his relations with Takadaya Kahei and his personality. The plates include a lithographed portrait of Takadaya Kahei and four copper-engraved maps: “Plan of the port of Edermo,” “Plan of the port of Hakodate,” “Plan of the middle part of the town of Hakodate, where in 1813 took place the liberation of the Russians, taken captive on the Kunashir Island in 1811;” and “Plan of the customs house, prepared for the negotiations with the Russian Commander on October 5, 1813.” Although issued separately, the accounts by Golovnin and Rikord formed the continuous narrations and were preferred to be bought together by Russian bibliophiles. Our copy unites both works under two beautiful full calf bindings, made shortly after the publication in 1816. Overall an important illustrated Russian travel book and an early source on the early history of Russian-Japanese relations.
Howgego 1800-1850, G15.