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Lot 90: Monson’s Naval Tracts in Six Books, London 1703

Sarasota Estate Auction

February 12, 2023
Sarasota , FL, US

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Sir William Monson’s Naval Tracts: in Six Books, Containing, 1. A Yearly Account of the English and Spanish Fleets, during the War in Queen Elizabeth’s time; with Remarks on the Actions on both sides. 2. Actions of the English under King James the First, and Discourses upon that Subject. 3. The Office of the Lord High Admiral of England, and of all the Ministers and Officers under him; with other Particulars to that purpose. 4. Discoveries and Enterprizes of the Spaniards and Portugueses; and several other remarkable Passages and Observations. 5. Divers Projects and Stratagems, tender’d for the good of the Kingdom. 6. Treats [Treaties] of Fishing to be set up on the Coast of England, Scotland, and Ireland, with the Benefit that will accrue by it to all His Majesty’s Three Kingdoms: With many other things concerning Fish, Fishing, and Matters of that Nature. The Whole from the Original Manuscript; Never Before Published. London, for A. and J. Churchill. 1703. Monson was a successful captain in the war with Spain, and this is a first edition, with all six books included here. We thought some pages were missing in the last book, but discovered that the printer had mispaginated some pages in Book VI. Pages 537 suddenly skips to page 550, and we thought pages 538 to 549 were missing, but the second column of page 537 speaks of pirates, and the conversation is continued on the very next page, even though the next page is misnumbered. (On 537, Monson speaks of meeting a pirate named Tucker, and Monson continues to speak about Tucker on the next page, but it is misnumbered 550 instead of 538.) If this were a later edition, the misnumbered pages would have been corrected, and since the errors have not been corrected, this is clearly a first edition of Monson’s Tracts. The front of the book begins with the title page, then the Preface, followed by a five-page detailed description of the Contents of each book, then a five-page epistle to his son, and the first page of Book I is numbered 169 - and that is apparently correct, because the page numbers of the book match the page numbers in the table of contents. The first page of text on the contents page for Book I is 169, and Book I begins on page 169 - why it doesn’t start on page I we don’t know, but it is accurate. The first page of Book I is number 169. The book has six raised bands, with gilt titles on a red label and gilt devices in five of the six compartments, brown calf covers, blank endpapers, and the title page and all follow after that. The text is in double columns, and the last paste-down endpaper has a bookbinder’s label from C.S. Carpenter of Shrewsbury, Mass. Monson (1569-1643) ran away to sail the seas when he was just sixteen. He saw action in a privateer again the Spanish, then became second-in-command of a ship when he was just twenty. He saw action against the Spanish again and helped capture a rich Spanish ship - and was captured afterwards in another encounter with the Spanish and spent time in captivity. He was knighted in 1596 and led a fleet of Queen Elizabeth’s ships against the Spanish again, and this time he captured the same Spanish commander who had taken him prisoner ten years earlier. He was elected to Parliament in 1601 and was named Admiral of the Narrow Seas in 1604, and In 1614 he was sent to repress Barbary pirates who marauded the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. He saw no further active service till 1635, so he retired and spent the last years of his life writing these Tracts. He retired under a cloud, but his writings are reputed to be the first work of naval history recorded by a major participant. The Tracts were first published in the third volume of Churchill's Voyages, but they have been edited and reprinted for the Navy Record Society by M. Oppenheim, and Monson’s memoirs are regarded as the best account of naval life and activities in the late Elizabethan period, combining historical narrative with his suggestions for the improvement of the country's maritime resources, and his writings are one of the best authorities for the naval history of the early 17th century”. National Maritime Museum Cat. V, 349. Sabin 13015 (Churchill). His Tracts also contain valuable and early information on European fisheries, including whaling. The book measures 12 7/8 x 8 1/2 in. wide, the binding is tight and secure, and the text is very clean. An exceptionally rare first edition of British naval history written by an actual participant when the British navy was in its infancy.

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If your bid is successful, please contact one of our local shippers. We will not be responsible for the acts or omissions of carriers or packers, whether or not they were recommended by us. Property will not be released to the shipper without the buyer's written consent and until payment has been made in full. Packing and handling of purchased lots by us is at the entire risk of the purchaser and Sarasota Estate Auction will have no liability of any loss or damage to such items. Buyer Pays Packaging and Shipping Cost.

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