N.p. n.d., but ca. 1914. Full Leather. The narrative of a four year trading voyage around the world as transcribed by the author's grandson-in-law. Joel Root (31 Aug 1770-12 Jan 1847), a native of Southington, Connecticut, was supercargo of the voyage of the ship Huron. The Huron's expedition spanned the four years between 1802 & 1806. The first leg of the voyage took them in search of seals amongst the islands west of the coast of Chili. The skins were eventually traded with the Chinese in Canton and the goods purchased there, presumably tea, porcelain and silks, then traded in Hamburg. From their the ship went on to St. Petersburg. and those goods were brought back for sale in New Haven Connecticut.
These voyages, whether searching for furs or whale oil, were typical voyages for many New Englanders, and their China trade was the backbone of the wealth that accumulated in New England. There are many narratives of exploring expeditions recorded at this time but this is unusually detailed in the accounts of sailing, avoiding shipwreck, the getting of the seals, encounters with Chileans ad short imprisonment in Conception.
The preliminary page states "Copy of the narrative of a voyage around the world, made by Joel Root during the years of 1802-1806, written by Doctor Emile B. Gardette of Philadelphia, from accounts of the said voyage given him by Mr. Root in the winter of 1838 while he was spending some months in Philadelphia with his grandaughter (sic) and her husband, Dr. Gardette, under the care of Dr. McClellan." According to the account Root lost his mother at two and his father at six. He was left in the care of his aged grandfather. At about 17, he entered Yale, where he remained for three semesters. It states that "the cause for his leaving was the tyrannical treatment to which the younger students were subjected by the elder." He married Eleanor Strong at age 18 and took up farming. By age 30, he had seven daughters and a reputation as an honest and hard working man. He was approached by several important early merchants of New Haven to be the supercargo and director of the voyage of the "Huron", under Captain Montthrop. They sailed to the Cape Verde Islands, Falkland Islands, Staten Island, round the Cape, Lobos Islands, St. Mary's, Arrepo and Massafuero. There is an account of Root dining with Don Manuel Martinez, commander of a Spanish frigate, whose home port was Conception. On board the Spanish ship, Root was treated to an elaborate dinner with "platters, plates, tumblers, forks and spoons of solid silver in great quantity, and ... several courses with change of plates, after the dessert there were still standing on the sideboard seventy-four silver plates of large size not used at the repast." Despite the hospitality, the commander delivered the message that Root and his men were to depart the island of Massafuero or be taken prisoner. After a short imprisonment at Conception, the ship left for the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), then to Canton. Root sold all the skins to a Hong merchant named Consegna. Becalmed in the Straits of Sunda with the ship "Ceres", the two ships were threatened by pirates, and successfully defended themselves. Here there is a reference to Australia; "Before leaving Canton, Mr. Root had heard of a schooner belonging to Port Jackson, having been taken in the Straits recently, and all hands put to the sword, probably by the same fleet."
The ship arrived in Hamburg, sold its cargo and then sailed to St. Petersburg with letters of credit for that city, with which to purchase Russian goods for the American market. "After the sales at Hamburg he had upwards of twenty thousand dollars, of his own private funds, as his proceeds from the 9000 skins bought at Massafuero, and seven thousand dollars of Chinese goods bought on credit from Consegna of Canton." As he was not permitted to bring his personal goods on to the Huron, he chartered the American ship George Washington, Captain S. Martin, from Providence, R.I. The China trade proved to be a life-changing point in his personal finances, with a far better return than farming.
The "Note" at the end describes Massafuero as the largest but one of the Juan Fernandez Islands in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chili. It lies a few miles west of Mass Tierra, which "was the lonely residence of Alexander Selkirk, whose experience gave the idea to Defoe of his story of Robinson Crusoe..."
Root returned home to Connecticut to find his family well. He is buried with many of them in Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven.
Sml. folio, 73pp, typescript, printed on rectos only. Original limp blue-green morocco, gilt title on front board with a gilt ship device beneath, gilt rule around border, gilt inner dentelles, no title on spine. Pale marbled endpapers with the bookplate of William A. Rogers. Bound by Stikeman & Co. Spine and corners rubbed, the spine tanned, sml. split starting top of front cover. Text in excellent condition and the covers quite acceptable with the gilt bright.
A rare publication, most likely issued by typescript in very limited numbers and specially bound. Very good overall. Item #22577