London: John Murray, 1818. Very Good. First Edition. 8vo [8.5x5.5in, 22x14cm], , 379 pp., 48 pp. [appendices], frontispiece fold out map of Northern hemisphere [11in, 29.5cm dia.] dated October 20, 1818, 3 illustrations; Early rebacked full calf with original spine preserved, five ribbed with gilt lettering and designs, gilt design on edges and dentelle, all edges trimmed; Minor shelf wear to corners, edges and covers, corners bumped and worn though, wear to surface edges and joints, small dark spot on lower front, several chips to spine, ink signature of G.D. Ryder January 1819 on title page, faint pencil navigation notations on map, some offset shadows from map, minimal foxing and age-toning throughout. A very nice copy [Hill 67]. Item #13964
Sir John Barrow (1764-1848) was a promoter of exploration, member and President of the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society and appointed in 1804 as the second Admiralty Secretary. He developed a friendship with Sir Joseph Banks, and together they were a driving force in promoting and supporting exploration to expand British imperialism. This book, one of many he authored, support the expansion of Arctic exploration in the first half of the 1800's to discover the Northwest Passage. The goal of the exploration voyages were to find the fabled "Strait of Anian" between Asia and North America. From Hill, "Two appendices included in the present work are: 'Mr. Buchan's expedition into the interior of Newfoundland' and 'A relation of the discovery of the Strait of Anian; made by me, Capt. Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado, in the year 1588 ...' Maldonado's account was fiction. The true strait that separates Asia and North America was discovered reported by Vitus Bering in 1728 far to the north and connecting the Pacific and Arctic oceans. The Northwest passage water connection to the Atlantic Ocean was not discovered and crossed until 1903 by Amundsen in the 'Gjoa'.
Who G. D. Ryder was is still a mystery and further research may identify him. The maker of the navigation notes on the map may be Ryder, who may have been a crew member on one of the early explorations.
More recently, this book was from the Dr. G. Warren Smith library in Pennsylvania. He had a long career as university professor and administrator, and was a collector of over 6,000 books, maps, illustrations, and artifacts relating to the Arctic, Alaska and Pacific Northwest.