London: Williams and Son, Stationers' Court, nd (1815). First edition thus. A wonderful family association copy of the book, inscribed by Captain Wilson's wife to his daughter with manuscript letters and an early newspaper clipping. Memoir of the London Missionary Society ship's captain James Wilson, noted for sailing the 'Duff' to Tahiti in order to establish the first mission in the South Seas. This is a wonderful family association copy of the book, inscribed by Captain Wilson's wife to his daughter with manuscript letters and an early newspaper clipping.
Inscribed by Wilson's wife Elizabeth Holbert, to their daughter on the ffep "Emma Ruhamah Wilson - The Gift of her affectionate Mother." Also signed below this in pencil "Mrs. N. Griffin" (Emma Ruhamah Wilson Griffin). Below this is a third inscription, which reads, "Given to Joseph James Curling, nephew of the above E. R. Wilson, by James Griffin of Portsmouth also nephew by marriage of E. R. Wilson (Mrs. N. Griffin) December, 1892". There is also a loosely inserted one page short genealogy of James Wilson - married to Holbert, with their 4 children listed, and their cause of death. The second child, Emma Ruhamah, marred John Griffin, the author of this book. A manuscript letter bound in at page 8 from John Griffin to Joseph James Curling describes Aunt James death.
A newspaper clipping is affixed to the inside front board, and titled "The Founder of the London Missionary Society, from the Guardian, 31.10.94". This letter to the editor was written by H. R. Haweis, who indignantly points out that the key role his grandfather Dr. Thomas Haweis, played in the founding of the London Missionary Society has been overlooked in its recent centenary meeting. Haweis junior substantiates the important role of his grandfather by citing a large trove of documents and artifacts in his possession pertaining to the "conversion of the O-Ta-Hi-Ti Islanders", all supporting the fact that it was Dr. Thomas Haweis who helped found the society and played a central role in it.
In particular he cites a letter which describes Haweis senior putting 100 pounds down for a missionary ship ("the famous Duff"), gathering further funds, "[enlists] all sort of sympathisers and helpers among them Wilberforce and Nepean" (Haweis also secured help from Sir Joseph Banks and Captain Bligh), and seeing that the ship had a captain ("Captain Wilson comes forward and volunteers to command his ship")! Haweis concludes, "This, Sir, is how the missionary society was founded, and this is how the first missionaries started for the South Seas;" ...
With two additional family items pertaining to India have to do with Wilson's early career when he sailed for the British East India Company. Wilson was captured and imprisoned in the notoriously terrible jail at Seringapatam by Hyder Ali, the South Indian ruler and sultan of Mysore. These are an inserted manuscript map of India at p. 7 which carefully traces the route from India's east coast to Seringapatam. The second family item on India is a manuscript note (4pp) about Williams's Bengal Infantry, (possibly excerpted from book by "J. Murray, London 1817"). There is much detail about Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga and the Marchesas.
First published at Portsea in 1810 under the title "The Life and Dreadful Sufferings of Captain Wilson." Original brown tree calf, the original spine laid down, black leather title label, gilt decoration. 8vo, (iv), 227pp, 1pp adverts. Ferguson 607; Libraries Australia ID 27788696; OCLC: 224519560; Hill p129 (2nd edition).
(For establishing the familial relationships, see Clayton, George. "A funeral discourse together with a brief memoir of the late Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson, of Denmark Hill, Camberwell, the only daughter of Richard Holbert, Esq. and relict of Capt. James Wilson, the conductor of the First Christian missionaries to the islands of the Pacific Ocean..." London, Teape, and sold by Westley and Davies, and Holdsworth and Ball, 1829. OCLC Number: 54289041.). Item #23719