London: The Hakluyt Society - Cambridge University Press, 2000. Near Fine in Near Fine dust-jacket First Edition. [10x7in]; xv, 231 pp., 22 plates with color frontispiece of the ship Williams, 30 color and monochrome maps, charts and views illustrations, appendices, bibliography and index; Royal blue cloth covers with gilt lettering on spine and gilt devise on front, all edges trimmed; Light blue dust jacket with dark blue lettering on front and spine, advertisement on back; Negligible shelf wear to book, spine faded on dust jacket. [Howgego II S33, Cambridge Polar Record V38 Issue 204]. Item #13780
The Hakluyt Society was founded in 1846 in London for the publication of primary sources of exploration and discovery expeditions. They were named after Richard Hakluyt (1552-1616) a collector and editor of narratives of voyages and travels. The publications are primarily from English expeditions related to English interests from the 17th century on. The Society is still very active and publishing historic works in a series of publications - the first from 1847-99, the second from 1899-1998 and the third beginning in 1999. In addition, there is an Extra series of more extensive books for direct sale to the public.
William Smith (1790-1847) was the Captain of the merchant brig Williams that traded in South America. During the voyage in 1819 he discovered the South Shetland Islands on the north west tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. This group of islands includes Desolation, King George, Clarence, Elephant and several other islands. After advising the British Navy of his discovery, Captain Shirreff chartered the Williams to confirm the sightings. Under Captain Bransfield the Williams with Smith as master and Poynter, as one of the midshipmen, sailed in early 1820 to the islands and discovered the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula as well as additional islands and made several landings. During that same period, other American and British whale and seal hunting ships were in the area and discovering additional lands.
Charles Wittit Poynter (1798-1878) was a Royal Navy midshipman that was assigned to the Williams under Captain Bransfield. He kept a detailed journal of the voyage from Valpariso to the South Shetland Islands that were discovered in 1998 and are now in the New Zealand National Library Turnbull collection. These journals are an important first-hand account of the voyage and discoveries. The Hakluyt Society decided to publish the journals with R. J. Campbell as editor. In addition to the Poynter journals, this book includes related information and voyages.