The online Journal of the Hakluyt Society publishes articles on navigation, exploration and similar topics.

Journal of the Hakluyt Society

The Journal of the Hakluyt Society

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ISSN 2051-543X

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.

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Editorial Board

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

James R. Gibson: Thomas Lowe’s Journal from London to the Hawai’ian Islands and the Northwest Coast in the Barques Vancouver and Cowlitz, 1841–1842. January 2024

Transcribed from the original handwritten document, this is the first publication of the daily diary of 16/17-year-old Thomas Lowe, kept on a voyage from London to the Pacific coast of America via Cape Horn in the ship Vancouver, and subsequently the Cowlitz, carrying manufactures and provisions for Hudson’s Bay Company outposts. [PDF, full text, 37 pages, 789KB]. Download

Captain M. K. Barritt RN: Early Hydrographic Work of the Royal Navy in the Red Sea, October 2023
The surveyors despatched by the East India Company in the late 1820s to chart the head waters of the Red Sea to facilitate a steamship route were aware of earlier work by Commodore Sir Home Riggs Popham in 1800-01. The survey efforts of his squadron are described in this article, together with forgotten work by other Royal Naval personnel during operations in the Red Sea prompted by Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 and the arrival of French troops at Suez. The surveying techniques are analysed, and the legacy of well-trained personnel from Popham’s well equipped squadron is emphasised. [PDF: full text, maps, bibliography, 26 pages] Download

David W. Phillipson: The First Edition of Livingstone’s Missionary Travels, February 2023
The paper summarises the background to David Livingstone’s career prior to his arrival at Robert Moffat’s Kuruman Mission in 1841, and his subsequent independent travels further north, culminating in his reaching the Zambezi valley close to the Chobe confluence at the modern Kazungula in 1851. This was effectively the starting point for his trans-continental journeys, a detailed description of which was presented in his first major book, Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa, published in London by John Murray in 1857. This book achieved record impact and popularity, its first edition remaining in print for some three years. The numerous minor variants, all dated 1857, in which the book was issued have long been recognised but little agreement has emerged as to their sequence and significance. This paper offers a critical examination of the issue, throwing light on the context of Livingstone’s contributions to the publication process, and on aspects of mid-nineteenth-century publication practices. The conclusions will interest historians in several fields, as well as librarians and booksellers. [PDF: full text, tables, bibliography, 20 pages, 1000 KB] Download

Anthony Payne: The Manuscripts of Richard Hakluyt: A Bibliographical Survey with Some Comments on Attributions, November 2022
This survey aims to provide a bibliographical guide to the various extant manuscripts in the hand (or thought to be) of Richard Hakluyt, manuscript items authored (or thought to be) by Hakluyt but not in his hand, and manuscript works by others at one time in his possession or in the composition of which he was associated. Each manuscript has a separate entry in the listing, giving its location, bibliographical references, editions, reproductions, and comment as appropriate. [PDF: full text, Introduction, Index, 687 Kb] Download

Ian Ferguson: Hüttner’s Account of the Journey of the British Embassy through China and part of Tartary. May 2022
Of all the accounts by members of the Macartney embassy to the Qianlong Emperor in Peking, 1792-94, the least known is that by Johann Christian Hüttner, translator and tutor to the young Georg Staunton. Although not originally intended for the public, Hüttner published his account in German in Berlin in 1797, the same year as Sir George Staunton‘s official narrative. It was translated into French soon after, but an English translation appears never to have been made. This scarce account has a directness and freshness sometimes missing from the more formal accounts, providing an individual set of observations on China and the progress of the embassy. The mission’s cultural and diplomatic confrontation in Peking, and during the long inland journey back to Canton, presaged the British imperial expansion of the 19th century. [PDF: full text, 52 pages, 2 colour illustrations, bibliography, 822 Kb]. Download

Matthew Day: Any good reading? The changing reception of early-modern travel writing. April 2022
Although the importance of the two editions of Richard Hakluyt’s Principal(l) Navigations (1589, 1598-1600) has long been recognised, there has been relatively little study of the reception of the work. This article provides an examination over the long durée of the reception of these volumes. It charts their use as providing practical information for travellers, explorers and colonists in the early modern period and as repositories of evidence for colonial claims in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While leisure reading has been an ongoing element of the reception of the works, this seems to have experienced a resurgence following the reissue of the volumes at the start of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Particularly noticeable are the publication of excerpts in an effort to create specific historical narratives and the selections of texts targeted at children in this later period. Overall, the paper demonstrates the richness and breadth of responses to Hakluyt’s publications and the changing emphasis of its appeal. [PDF: full text, 18 pages, bibliography, 189 KB] Download

Duncan James: Native Carvings from the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. January 2022
This paper is an account of the discovery of a pair of late sixteenth-century stone carvings depicting native Americans. The route by which the carvings came from Barnstaple in Devon to be built into a house in Shropshire is explained. This is followed by a discussion of the evidence for a link to Richard Beaple, a wealthy Barnstaple merchant trading with Spain. An hypothesis is put forward to explain how the carvings may have come into his possession and that they could be closely linked to Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard Grenville and some of the earliest expeditions to Roanoke in North Carolina. Finally, there is the suggestion that they may be depictions of two native Americans brought to England in 1584 by Grenville at the behest of Raleigh. [PDF: full text, 14 pages, 22 colour illustrations, bibliography in endnotes, 3.12 Mb] Download

Richard Hakluyt: Selected Essays

Anthony Payne: The Suppression of the Voyage to Cadiz in Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations. December 2021
This essay explores the possible reasons for the removal of the ‘report of the Honorable voyage unto Cadiz’ in the first volume of Richard Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations (1598). The excision of the ‘Cadiz leaves’, as they are often known, is a well-established point and has been noted by bibliographers, booksellers and collectors since the 1720s. It has generally been linked to the disgrace or fall of the controversial favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, the hero of the Cadiz raid in 1596, Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, and its imposition attributed to royal displeasure with him. Essex’s political position became increasingly tenuous from 1599, and he was executed for treason in February 1601, but such an explanation is not entirely adequate, not least because the period of suppression seems to have been over by the time he had fallen irrevocably and taken up arms against the Queen. The discussion ends with an account of how these leaves have been reproduced since the eighteenth century so that copies of The Principal Navigations in which they were missing could be restored to textual completeness. [PDF: full text, 44 pages, 613 Kb] Download

Anthony Payne: Richard Hakluyt’s Oxford Lectures. November 2021
Richard Hakluyt taught and lectured at Oxford in the late 1570s and early 1580s, on Aristotle, a traditional feature in the university’s curriculum, and on geography, a new subject, which was not part of the university’s formal teaching programme. Hakluyt’s innovative geographical lectures are the primary focus of this essay, which attempts to clarify their nature and dispel confusion in existing references about their context. A documentary appendix prints Hakluyt’s references to his education and lectures, taken from his Principall Navigations (1589) and his manuscript ‘Analysis’ of Aristotle’s Politics. [PDF: full text, 18 pages, copious bibliography in footnotes, 431 Kb] Download

Anthony Payne: Hakluyt and the East India Company: A Documentary and Bibliographical Review. February 2021
The author thoroughly examines the documentary sources relating to Hakluyt’s association with the East India Company, the sources of information offered in an advisory capacity, and his acquisition and publication of papers describing the company’s early voyages. The material is considered in terms of the wider historical context of international politics and diplomacy. [PDF: full text, 48 pages, bibliographies, 631 kb] Download

Katie Bank: Truth and Travel: The Principal Navigations and ‘Thule, the period of cosmographie’. July 2020
Thomas Weelkes’s madrigal ‘Thule, the period of cosmographie’ (1600) is considered an outstanding example of English music from this period, in part because of its curious, anonymously-authored text which vividly describes the wonders of exploration. This article demonstrates that the most likely source for the images in Weelkes’s text is Richard Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations (1589, 1598-1600). It argues that through the music, Weelkes transmitted knowledge about travel literature not implicit in the poem alone, showing one way music was capable of not only reflecting but also contributing to contemporary discussions about the foundation of truth. [PDF: full text, 22 pages, illustration, sheet music extracts, bibliography, 3.44Mb] Download


John Biscoe’s circumnavigation of the Antarctic continent

Ann Savours, ed. Maurice Raraty: The Life and Antarctic Voyages of John Biscoe. July 2021
The most thorough published account to date of the life and Antarctic voyages of the English sea captain John Biscoe, assembled by Dr Maurice Raraty from research carried out over many years by Ann Savours and originally intended as an introduction to her projected publication of Biscoe’s log. The article also includes background histories of the early European settlement of Tasmania and the colonisation of the Falkland Islands. [PDF: full text, 58 pages, appendixes, 376 Kb] Download

Navigational dangers on portolan charts

Tony Campbell and Captain Michael Barritt RN: The Representation of Navigational Hazards: the Development of Toponymy and Symbology on Portolan Charts from the 13th Century onwards. December 2020
By contrast with studies of construction and littoral toponymy, the representation of navigational hazards on early European navigational charts has received little attention. This article redresses the balance, confirming the judgment of Captain William Henry Smyth in 1854 that the portolan charts contain valuable warnings for the mariner, and proposing that this was a major aim of their makers. [PDF: full text, 36 pages, maps, bibliography, 1.2 Mb] Download


Derek Massarella: Japanese Travellers in Sixteenth Century Europe: A Dialogue Concerning the Mission of the Japanese Ambassadors to the Roman Curia (1590): Some New Source Material. April 2020
The author discusses the new material that has come to light since the publication by the Hakluyt Society in 2012 of his Japanese Travellers in Sixteenth Century Europe. [PDF: full text, 5 pages, bibliography, 145 kb] Download


William Barr: Luitenant ter zee L. A. H. Lamie’s account of the ice-drift and sinking of the Varna of the Dutch expedition of the First International Polar Year 1882–83 in the Kara Sea, January 2020.
Translated, with an Introduction and Appendix, from M. Snellen and H. Ekama, Rapport sur l’Expédition Polaire Néerlandaise qui a hiverné dans la Mer de Kara en 1882/83, Utrecht, 1810. [PDF: full text, 52 pages, photographs, map, bibliography]. Download


John G. Fitch: The Explorer Ralph Fitch: New Light on his Ancestry, November 2019
In this brief note, Professor Fitch sheds light on the mystery of this important traveller’s origins. [PDF: full text, 1 page, 92 kb]. Download

Darwin’s patrons and the Beagle voyage

Brian Abbott: HMS Beagle 1831–36 and Charles Darwin. The role of Phillip Parker King and his colleague the hydrographer Francis Beaufort, November 2019

HMS Beagle
HMS Beagle

The traditional view has been that Captain FitzRoy, as the commander of HMS Beagle on her famed second voyage (1831–6), initiated and was instrumental in securing the services of the young Charles Darwin. However, in this article the author proposes that, whilst Captain FitzRoy was involved in the process, other persons played the pivotal role in Darwin’s selection, notably Sir Francis Beaufort and Captain Phillip Parker King. [PDF: full text, 11 pages, 200 kb]. Download

Russian Searches for the Northwest Passage

William Barr: Russian Searches for the Northwest Passage, 1820-21: Leytenant Andrei Petrovich Lazarev’s account of the voyages of Otkrytiye and Blagonamerennyy. July 2019

The author provides us with the first published English-language translation of the description by Leytenant Aleksey Petrovich Lazarev of the two penetrations in 1820 and 1821 by the ships Otkrytiye (Captain Mikhail Nikolayevich Vasil’yev) and Blagonamerennyy (Captain Gleb Semenovich Shishmarev) north of the Aleutian Islands and through the Bering Strait into the Arctic Ocean [PDF: full text, illustrations, 2 maps, bibliography. 3.0Mb]. Download

The Arctic Voyages of Allen Young

William Barr: Sir Allen Young and his Arctic Voyages on board Pandora, 1875 and 1876. February 2019.

steam yacht Pandora
The steam yacht Pandora

In 1875 and 1876, Allen William Young mounted two arctic expeditions in the steam yacht Pandora. His 1875 objective was to make the first transit of the Northwest Passage and if possible search for relics or documents from the Franklin expedition. In the event, pack ice in Peel Sound forced his retreat. In 1876, while planning a second attempt on the Northwest Passage, he was diverted by the Admiralty into liaising with the ongoing North Polar expedition of George Strong Nares. This Young achieved, but only at the cost of forfeiting his own ambitions. [PDF: full text, illustrations, 3 maps, bibliography. 39 pages. 1.9Mb]. Download

Three Journeys from London to Japan 1874-1908

Susannah Margaret Coates: The Japan Travel Journals of Bishop Henry Evington, his daughter Emily Evington, and his wife Patience Evington. September 2018.

Between 1874 and 1908 Henry Evington undertook seven missionary journeys to Japan, sometimes with his wife Patience and daughter Emily. The diaries of three of these journeys, the first by Henry in 1874, the sixth by Emily in 1902, and the seventh by Patience in 1908, are here transcribed from the original documents. Included are the numerous photographs taken by Henry en route, together with supplementary illustrations. [PDF: full text, illustrations, map. 106 pages. 3.1Mb]. Download

Early anglophone accounts of sexual diversity in Southeast Asia

Nailya Shamgunova: Conceptualising Sexual Diversity of Pegu and Makassar in Anglophone Discourse, c. 1585–1670. February 2018.

This essay explores the ways in which sexual diversity of Pegu and Makassar, as case studies, was conceptualised in anglophone discourse between c. 1585 and 1670. In an attempt to move away from suprastructures of queer reading, this paper proposes a keyword analysis of a rigidly identified monolingual discourse in order to uncover the processes of cultural translation in relation to sexual matters in the early modern world. It identifies key themes – notably nature and encounter – as the most helpful lenses for looking at English contact with the sexual ‘deviancy’ of Southeast Asia. Instead of presenting a simplified picture of ‘orientalisation before orientalism’, those sources, both first hand accounts and cosmographies, operate in more complex and nuanced ways. [PDF: full text, 19 pages. 576 kb]. Download

The essay was awarded the Hakluyt Society Essay Prize for 2016.

Charting the Russian Arctic Coast

William Barr: The Arctic Detachments of the Russian Great Northern Expedition (1733–43) and their largely Forgotten and even Clandestine Predecessors. July 2018.

Vitus Bering’s Second Kamchatka Expedition, commonly known as the Great Northern Expedition (1733-43) involved seven detachments, one of which, Bering’s own voyage from Kamchatka to Alaska, has been extensively studied and analysed. Five of the detachments, however, focused on different sections of the arctic coast of Russia. This article provides a definitive account of the complex progress of the five detachments which ultimately resulted in a remarkably detailed map of almost the entire arctic coast. Also examined are the little known Russian voyages that had covered every part of that coast in the seventeenth century, about which the officers of the Great Northern Expedition appear to have been largely unaware. [PDF: full text, maps, bibliography. 32 pages. 1.67Mb]. Download

Litke’s expeditions into the Russian Arctic

William Barr: Fedor Petrovich Litke and his Expeditions to Novaya Zemlya 1821–24. December 2017.

Fedor Petrovich Litke
Fedor Petrovich Litke

In 1821 Leytenent Fedor Petrovich Litke (Фёдор Петро́вич Ли́тке) was selected to lead an expedition to survey the coasts of Novaya Zemlya (Но́вая Земля́) and the mainland coast from the White Sea (Белое море) west to the Russian-Norwegian border. In the brig Novaya Zemlya, over four consecutive seasons (1821-4), he surveyed parts of the west coast of the double-island but persistently late-surviving sea ice prevented him reaching the northern tip of Novaya Zemlya. He was however able to send boats through Matochkin Shar (Ма́точкин Шар) to survey that strait, but he was unable to reach any part of the east coast. The contrast with the present situation, whereby the route north of Novaya Zemlya in ice-free waters is commonly used by vessels proceeding from the Barents Sea to the Kara Sea, is an interesting commentary on changing sea-ice conditions. [PDF: full text, maps, illustrations. 36 pages. 1.7Mb]. Download

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

Janice Cavell: Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Robert Bartlett, and the Karluk Disaster: A Reassessment. January 2017, revised April 2018.

Voyage and drift of the Karluk
Voyage and drift of the Karluk

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. 604Kb]. 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.

Pskov Chronicle
Pskov Chronicle

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 (Белое море) and Barents Sea (Баренцево море) 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.

Hakluyt family medieval hall house
Hakluyt family medieval hall house

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.

The medals of Frederick John Krabbé
The medals of Frederick John Krabbé

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.

Gelein van Stapels map

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.

British North America
British North America

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

The paddle-steamer Dallmann on the Yenisey
The paddle-steamer Dallmann on the Yenisey

In this article the author tells the fascinating story of Baron Ludwig von Knoop’s attempts to send steamers to the Yenisey (Енисе́й), 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 Flinders’s 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

Terra Australis
Terra Australis

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

Hakluyt Society pubications
Hakluyt Society publications

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

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

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.