The Journal of the Hakluyt Society

ISSN 2051-543X

Exploration & Discovery
Historical Travel
Cultural Encounter

The online Journal of the Hakluyt Society publishes occasional articles in electronic form only. Its articles are peer reviewed to ensure that they conform to a high standard of scholarship. Appropriate to the charitable status and primary objectives of the Society, the entire text of the Journal is made available here for free download. However, it must be appreciated that copyright exists on all articles and resides with the Hakluyt Society, or possibly in part with the author.
Please click on Download to see the full text of the article.

Editorial page Please click this link to read the history, purpose and objects of the Journal; information regarding the submission of articles; how to cite the Journal; how to contact the editor; and questions regarding copyright and permissions.

Editorial Board

Raymond Howgego, FRGS (editor)
Professor W. F. Ryan
Dr Gloria Clifton
Dr Margaret Makepeace
Professor Joyce Lorimer.

The sinking of the Karluk. Who really was to blame?

Janice Cavell: Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Robert Bartlett, and the Karluk Disaster: A Reassessment.  January 2017.
The sinking of the Canadian Arctic Expedition (CAE) ship Karluk near Wrangel Island (о́стров Вра́нгеля) in January 1914 has long been the subject of controversy. The ship’s commander, Robert Bartlett, was initially hailed as a hero for his journey over the ice from Wrangel Island to the mainland. However, the expedition leader, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, did not share the prevailing favourable view and instead severely criticized Bartlett, even insinuating in his publications that Bartlett was to blame for the tragedy. In this article the author reassesses the decisions that led to the disaster in the light of Stefansson's and Bartlett's personal ambitions, together with previously neglected evidence from the papers of Robert Peary, and of Rudolph Anderson, the commander of the expedition's Southern Party. [PDF: full text, map. 22 pages. 387Kb].  Download

10th-century Russian Navigation in the Arctic

A. V. Chernetsov and A. A. Turilov: An Occult Version of the Early Medieval History of Russia and Description of Arctic Navigation Routes in the Pskov Chronicle of 1689.  January 2017.
The authors examine a curious 17th-century chronicle of the history of Pskov which happens to include a long passage about the early and little known Russian expansion into the White Sea and Barents Sea area. This history is semi-legendary but the place and river names are all recognisable. The chronicle is unique in that it uses the symbols of geomancy to mark certain places, and this seems to be linked to geographical astrology. In the first part of the article the authors explain the peculiarities of the text, while in the second they offer an English translation of part of the chronicle relating to the exploration and subjugation of the White Sea area and beyond. [PDF: full text, maps, illustrations, tables. 17 pages. 2.9Mb].  Download

New Light on the Herefordshire Hakluyts

Duncan James: The Herefordshire Hakluyt Houses.  January 2017.
Although Richard Hakluyt the lawyer (1531–91) and Richard Hakluyt the geographer (1552–1616) were cousins, their relationship was made closer by dramatically changing family circumstances in their early lives. This paper discusses the medieval hall house that survives from the time of William Hakluyt, great grandfather to both Richards and, assisted by tax returns of the period, identifies the remarkable early sixteenth century house that Richard the lawyer’s father, Thomas Hakluyt, built in the few years before he died in 1544. It also touches on the litigious route by which family inheritance of property and land in the village of Eyton in Herefordshire descended through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. [PDF: full text, maps, plans, illustrations, tables. 24 pages. 2.9Mb].  Download

One of the Longest Man-hauled Sledge Trips ever Accomplished in the Arctic

William Barr & Glenn M. Stein: Frederick J. Krabbé, last man to see HMS Investigator afloat, May 1854.  January 2017.
In the spring of 1852 Frederick John Krabbé was selected by Captain Leopold McClintock to serve as Master  on board the steam tender HMS Intrepid, part of Captain Sir Edward Belcher’s squadron, searching for the Franklin expedition. After two winterings, the second off Cape Cockburn, southwest Bathurst Island, Krabbé was chosen by Captain Henry Kellett to lead a sledging party west to Mercy Bay, Banks Island, to check on the condition of HMS Investigator, abandoned by Commander Robert M’Clure in the previous spring. Krabbé executed these orders and was thus the last person to see Investigator afloat. Since, following Belcher’s orders, Kellett had abandoned HMS Resolute and Intrepid, rather than ending their return journey near Cape Cockburn, Krabbé and his men had to continue for a further 260 km to Beechey Island. This made the total length of their sledge trip 1589 kilometres, one of the longest manhauled sledge trips in the history of the Arctic. [PDF: full text, maps, illustration. 34 pages. 1.57Mb].  Download

A Possible Solution to the Mystery of the 1845 Franklin Expedition

Peter Carney: Further Light on the Source of the Lead in Human Remains from the 1845 Franklin Expedition September 2016.
Hypotheses concerning the source of the high lead levels detected in human remains from the Franklin expedition are re-examined in the light of evidence from cases of occupational exposure and of malicious poisoning. It is argued that there was a significant source of environmental lead exposure during the expedition which was unconnected with any part of the expedition’s provisions such as the soldered food cans. Support is given for the proposal that the ships’ apparatus for melting snow to produce fresh water, which was of a design hurriedly improvised a decade earlier, produced lead contaminated water when it was operated to a regime which the ship’s cooks had previously practised on HMS Erebus during the 1839–44 Antarctic expedition under James Clark Ross. [PDF: full text, illustrations. 17 pages. 460kb].  Download

The Amazon, the Guianas and the Caribbean in 1629-30.

Martin van Wallenburg, Alistair Bright, Lodewijk Hulsman & Martijn van den Bel: The Voyage of Gelein van Stapels to the Amazon River, the Guianas and the Caribbean, 1629–1630. January 2015.
This article provides the first translation into English of the manuscript written by the Dutch sea captain Gelein van Stapels, preserved at the Zeeuws Archief in Middelburg, Netherlands, and describing a voyage made in 1629-30 along the northern coast of South America and throughout the Caribbean. The manuscript consists of two parts, the first being a succession of chapters providing descriptions of sixteen different geographical locations, ranging from the Amazon River to Caribbean islands. The second is a copy of the ship’s log maintained during the voyage. An introduction provides a comprehensive analysis of the historical background to the voyage, together with a biography of Van Stapels. The five extant coloured maps that accompany the manuscript are reproduced in high resolution. [PDF: full text, maps, illustrations, and appendices. 81 pages. 3.9Mb].  Download

Aemilius Simpson: Across North America in 1826: A Previously Unpublished Journal

William Barr and Larry Green: Lt. Aemilius Simpson’s Survey from York Factory to Fort Vancouver, 1826.  August 2014.
In 1826 the Hudson's Bay Company surveyor Aemilius Simpson travelled from York Factory, on the Hudson Bay, to Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia River, his instructions being to investigate a viable route to the Columbia District, newly acquired after the HBC's amalgamation with the North West Company. His journey took him to Lake Winnipeg, from where he followed the Saskatchewan, Athabasca, and Columbia rivers, arriving at Fort Vancouver after four months and 2700 miles. In this article, William Barr and Larry Green present a copiously annotated transcription of Simpson's previously unpublished manuscript journal, together with supplementary essays and biographical notes on the principal players. [PDF: full text, illustrations, maps, appendices & bibliography. 106 pages. 2 MB].  Download.

William Barr: German paddle-steamers on the Yenisey 1878-84  August 2014
In this article the author tells the fascinating story of Baron Ludwig von Knoop's attempts to send steamers to the Yenisey, under captains Eduard Dallmann and Louis Wieting, with a view to exchanging cargoes with lighters which hauled grain downriver from the agricultural regions of southern Western Siberia. He describes how Wieting, with paddle-steamers Moskva and Dallmann (pictured right), successfully towed grain-laden lighters northwards up the Yenisey, only to find, in three out of the six years in which operations took place, that Von Knoop's sea-going vessels had been unable to reach the rendezvous at the mouth of the river. As a result, in 1884 the entire operation was wound up, the paddle-steamers were sold, and Wieting and his men returned to Germany overland. [PDF: full text, maps & illustrations, 28 pages. 1.42 MB]   Download

Celebrating the life and work of Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)

Captain M. K. Barritt, RN: Matthew Flinderss Survey Practices and Records  March 2014
The quantity of original material in the form of journals, record books and manuscript charts arising from Matthew Flinders’s voyaging around Australia is unmatched in the period, largely as a result of the explorer's enforced isolation on Île de France (Mauritius). In this article Captain Barritt, a former Hydrographer of the Navy, draws on the numerous documents preserved in the National Archives and UK Hydrographic Office, including the so-called 'Bearing Book', to provide a critical, in-depth appraisal of Flinders's survey methods [PDF: full text, maps & tables, 15 pages. 754 KB]   Download

Dany Bréelle: Matthew Flinders’s Australian Toponymy and its British Connections   November 2013.
In 1814 Matthew Flinders completed his huge mission, the charting of Australia, with the publication of the Atlas of Terra Australis, and the two volumes of the Voyage to Terra Australis that he drafted from his journals. This paper focuses on the Australian place names given by Flinders as they appear in these publications. They are analysed statistically with regard to those involved in the voyage, and the structures and knowledge that characterised Flinders’s time. They attest to Flinders’s concern to select descriptive toponyms that were not only useful for navigation, but also to thank the officials, officers and friends helpful to him, and to defend British territorial interests in Australia against the French. The major geopolitical issues of the beginning of the nineteenth century, the role of the Admiralty and East India Company, the status of the men of science, the wars against France, and the colonization of Australia, emerge from Flinders’s nomenclature. [PDF: full text, maps & graphs, 41 pages. 1.35MB] Download

Dany Bréelle: The Scientific Crucible of Île de France: the French Contribution to the Work of Matthew Flinders.  June 2014
In her second article celebrating the work of Matthew Flinders, Dr Bréelle concentrates on his generally overlooked investigations into geology, magnetism, and the cartography of Madagascar which he carried out while a prisoner on Île de France (Mauritius). She examines the cross-circulation of knowledge between Flinders, the learned society of the island, and Europe, and she demonstrates that Flinders's work was part of a wider European network of knowledge that transcended national boundaries. [PDF full text, illustrations, 24 pages. 1.3 MB]  Download

Professor Bridges talks about the history of the Hakluyt Society

Roy Bridges: The Literature of Travel and Exploration: The Work of the Hakluyt Society
  April 2014
The complete transcript of Professor Bridges's lecture delivered at the Guildhall Library, London, on 19 March 2014. The author, a former President of the Society, follows the evolution of the Society from its foundation in 1846 until the present day, tracing its mixed fortunes and its adaptation to the ever-changing political, social and technological climate. He emphasises the historically significant role of the Society in making available to the world otherwise neglected accounts of voyages and travels, and he comments on the difficulties this often involved, taking as examples his recent work on the narratives of of the freed slave Jacob Wainwright and the explorer James Augustus Grant. [PDF: full text, maps, illustrations & table, 16 pages. 1.4 MB]  Download

James R. Gibson: Documenting Russian California / Janet Hartley: Why is Russian America Important?  August 2014
Complete transcripts of the two talks given at the meeting of the Hakluyt Society on 15 July 2014 in the Marian Kennedy Fischer Hall, University of Notre Dame in London, to mark the publication of James Gibson & Alexei A. Istomin (eds), Russian California, 1806–1860: A History in Documents. [PDF: full text, 5 + 6 pages. 150KB]  Download

Pierre Schneider: Before the Somali Threat: Piracy in the Ancient Indian Ocean  July 2014
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international shipping since the early twenty-first century, but what we are witnessing today may appear as the latest manifestation of a phenomenon which already existed in antiquity. This paper collects together and analyses all surviving textual evidence relating to ancient piracy in the Indian Ocean in the Hellenistic, Roman and early Byzantine periods. [PDF: full text, maps & illustrations, 28 pages. 1.72 MB]  Download

Daniel Carey: Edmund Hakluyt: New College Singing Man, Tutor, and Youngest Brother of Richard Hakluyt
June 2014

In this article Professor Carey pieces together what little is known of the life of Edmund Hakluyt, brother of Richard [PDF: full text, 4 pages. 126 KB]  Download

Bernard Stonehouse and Caroline Gunn: The Arctic Whaling Logs of Captain George Palmer, 1820–33  April 2013.
George Palmer, master of the Arctic whaling ship Cove, sailed annually from Newcastle to the Davis Strait whaling grounds from 1815 to 1833. Fourteen consecutive log books survive of his voyages from 1820 onwards, and these are currently being studied. This paper sets the voyages in the context of the industry as a whole, based on statistics recently derived mainly from two previously unpublished sources: (a) customs returns tabled annually in the House of Lords, 1754–1824, and (b) voyages from all the whaling ports, 1814–42, based on customs returns, listed by William Coltish. [PDF: full text, illustrations, maps & tables. 10 pages. 2MB]  Download

C. Ian Jackson: The Voyage of David Craigie to Davis Strait and Baffin Bay (1818)  February 2013.
Dr David Craigie (1793-1866), sometime president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, is best known for his writings on medicine. However, in 1818, two years after graduation, he participated as ship's physician on a whaling voyage to Davis Strait and Baffin Bay. His handwritten journal, composed during the voyage and containing rare criticism of the British whaling trade, remained unknown until 2011 when it was discovered among a collection of books bequeathed by Craigie to the College. It is here transcribed and edited for the first time, together with an introduction that places the journal in its historical, geographical, and scientific context. [PDF: full text. 78 pages. 559KB]  Download

Derek Massarella: The Japanese Embassy to Europe (1582–1590)  February 2013.
The lecture delivered by Professor Massarella on 13 December 2012 at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation to launch the publication of Japanese Travellers in Sixteenth-Century Europe: A Dialogue Concerning the Mission of the Japanese Ambassadors to the Roman Curia (1590). The lecture provides an insight into the historical background to the work, the one-time flourishing Jesuit mission in Japan, the remarkably successful tour of the young Japanese legates through European countries and ultimately to Rome, and the events that followed. [PDF: full text with copious endnotes. 12 pages. 131KB]  Download
     Appendix: The Discovery of the Missing Portrait of Mancio Itō, one of the Japanese Ambassadors. A note by Professor Massarella on the history and recent discovery of Tintoretto's portrait of Mancio Itō [PDF: text & illustration. 3 pages. 268KB]  Download

Stefan Dietrich: Flying a kite and catching fish in the Ternate panorama of 1600  August 2012.
The account of the first Dutch visit to the Moluccas (1599) includes a plate showing a panorama of the island of Ternate. It contains not only the earliest representation of kite-fishing, a technique specific to Indonesia, Micronesia and the South-West Pacific, but also the earliest European depiction of the flying of a plane kite. The paper thoroughly examines the ethnographic significance of this often overlooked detail and places it firmly in both its Eastern and Western historical contexts. The author also presents an intriguing discussion of the numerous adaptations of this well-known panorama that appeared in later editions of the original account, including the extensively edited version used by Bolton Corney (Hakluyt Society, 1855) which appears to have been contrived to illustrate not a Dutch voyage but that of Henry Middleton. [PDF: full text & illustrations. 30 pages. 2537KB]  Download (This article includes high-resolution images which may be enlarged in Adobe PDF Reader to show detail.)

Pierre Schneider: The Discovery of Tropical Mangroves in Graeco-Roman Antiquity: Science and Wonder  February 2011
Mangrove forests are seriously endangered and have recently become the focus of considerable attention. While nowadays ecological and biological questions tend to predominate, few scholars have paid attention to the discovery of mangrove in the Graeco-Roman period. In this article the author examines where and when mangroves were observed by the Greeks and the Romans during their early voyages in the Indian Ocean, and he demonstrates the remarkable degree of scientific accuracy achieved in the writings of Theophrastus and in the observations of the associates of Alexander the Great. The author helps us to understand the major features of the mangrove as a landscape from the Graeco-Roman point of view. [PDF: full text. 15 pages 189KB]  Download
Map and illustrations to accompany this article [PDF: 3 pages 1.5MB]

Robin M. Rondeau: The wrecks of Franklin’s ships Erebus and Terror; their likely location and the cause of failure of previous search expeditions  March 2010.
Since the loss of the Franklin Expedition (1845–8) numerous attempts have been made to ascertain what became of Franklin’s men and their ships Erebus and Terror. Most search efforts, especially those in recent years, have focused on areas south of King William Island in the Canadian Arctic. This paper provides evidence that those looking for Franklin’s ships have been looking in the wrong place, and that both the Erebus and Terror most likely lie in Larsen Sound to the north of King William Island where nobody has searched before. [PDF: full text, map & illustrations. 11 pages. 441KB]   Download

C. Ian Jackson: William Scoresby the Scientist  January 2010
Between the years 1811 and 1820, William Scoresby the Younger undertook nine whaling voyages into the far North Atlantic. His journals, recently edited for the Society by Dr Jackson in three volumes, are rich in scientific observation. In this paper, based on the text of the author's talk at the Whitby Museum at the launch of the third volume, Dr Jackson focuses on Scoresby's standing as a scientist and his considerable contribution to the marine science, geography and oceanography of the far north. [PDF: full text & illustration. 9 pages. 335KB]  Download

Captain Richard Campbell, RN: The Voyage of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to the Southern and Antarctic Regions. Captain James Clark Ross, R.N. 1839–1843. The Journal of Sergeant William K. Cunningham, R.M. of HMS Terror  April 2009
This substantial paper presents for the first time the entire journal of Quartermaster Sergeant William Cunningham, who sailed in the Terror on the expedition of James Clark Ross to the Antarctic in 1839-43, its purpose being to locate accurately the position of the South Magnetic Pole. The editor provides a copiously annotated transcript of the journal, illustrated with maps, plates and photographs, together with an abundance of supplementary material in which he discusses the historical background to the voyage, the questions of terrestrial magnetism, and the problems of compass navigation. The journal, written from the perspective of a common seaman, complements Ross's official account of the voyage and provides historians of Antarctica with a wealth of additional information.
The paper is presented here in three parts for ease of download:
Part 1. Introductory chapters. Historical background. The voyage & its objectives. Magnetism & the compass. Glossary of nautical terms. [PDF: full text & illustrations. 37 pages. 625KB]  Download
Part 2. The journal [PDF: full text, maps & illustrations. 114 pages. 2803KB]  Download
Part 3. Appendices & bibliography [PDF: full text. 33 pages. 240KB]  Download

Glenn M. Stein & Lydia I. Iarukova: Polar Honours of the Russian Geographical Society 1845–1995  December 2008
In this paper the authors present, for the first time in English, an overview of Russian polar exploration and research (almost exclusively Arctic) through a study of medals awarded by the Russian Geographical Society, their recipients and achievements, during the period of 1845–1995. Fully illustrated with photographs of the medals, and annotated with biographical notes on the medals' recipients, the paper brings to light the names of many illustrious Russian scientists and explorers commonly overlooked in Western literature. [PDF: full text & illustrations 38 pages. 655KB]  Download

William Battersby: Identification of the Probable Source of the Lead Poisoning Observed in Members of the Franklin Expedition  September 2008
Since 1982, signs of a high exposure to lead have been identified in the human remains of members of John Franklin’s expedition to the Arctic, 1845–8. Tinned food has been suggested as the source of this lead. This paper provides evidence that the primary source of this lead was not tinned food, which was in widespread use in the Royal Navy at the time, but the unique water system fitted to the expedition’s ships. [PDF: full text & illustrations. 10 pages. 353KB]  Download

Fred Swart: The Circumnavigation of the Globe by Pieter Esaiasz. de Lint 1598-1603  January 2007
Pieter de Lint sailed from Holland in September 1598 as captain of the yacht Eendracht in the fleet of Olivier van Noort. Appointed captain of the Hendrick Frederick in the Strait of Magellan, he subsequently became separated from the fleet and, after calling at various ports along the coast of South America, made his own way across the Pacific to arrive at Ternate early in 1601. De Lint’s voyage and the major role he played in ensuring the financial success of the mission have never, until now, been properly documented. Working from primary sources in both Dutch and Spanish, Mr Swart accurately reconstructs the route and events of De Lint’s little known voyage, and the negotiations that followed its successful arrival in the Spice Islands. [PDF: full text. 21 pages]  Download

Peter de Clercq: The Life and Work of E.G.R. Taylor (1871-1966), author of The Mathematical Practitioners of Tudor and Stuart England and The Mathematical Practitioners of Hanoverian England  February 2007
Eva Taylor was professor of geography at Birkbeck College, University of London, from 1930 to 1944, the first woman to hold a chair of geography in the United Kingdom. She joined the Council of the Hakluyt Society in the early 30s, continued her researches well into her 80s, and was responsible for editing four of the Society’s volumes. The article describes the life of this remarkable scholar and provides a thorough assessment of her considerable contribution to the history of geography and navigation. [PDF: full text. 13 pages]  Download

James McCarthy: Selim Aga: New Light on his Life and his Explorations in West Africa  July 2007
Selim Aga, a freed Nuba slave who received his education in Scotland and became a proficient writer and lecturer, is better known to many as Richard Burton's manservant in West Africa. James McCarthy, author of the only book-length biography of Selim Aga, presents new findings on Selim's subsequent life and travels in West Africa, his role in the Baikie expedition, his offer to seek out information regarding the fate of Eduard Vogel, and his explorations in Liberia and on the upper Niger. [PDF: full text. 7 pages]  Download
A number of illustrations have been provided by Mr McCarthy to accompany this article and are available by clicking here.

Fred Swart: Lambert Biesman (1573–1601) of the Company of Trader-Adventurers, the Dutch Route to the East Indies, and Olivier van Noort’s Circumnavigation of the Globe  December 2007
In the second of his two articles on early Dutch voyages of discovery, Mr Swart provides an eminent account of the voyage of Cornelis de Houtman to the East Indies (1595-97) and the circumnavigation of Olivier Van Noort (1598-1601). The article draws on archival material and unpublished letters to focus on the life of Lambert Biesman, a young volunteer who played a significant role in both voyages until his capture and execution at Manila in 1601. [PDF: full text. 31 pages]  Download