Narrative of the Voyages and Services of The Nemesis - Commander W. H. Hall, W.D. Bernard ESQ., A.M., Oxon.

1844 - Henry Colburn, London - First Edition
A finely bound first edition first hand account of a pivotal time in Anglo-Chinese relations, the first opium war, and the formation of Hong Kong. With strong association to three major figures of this era, being formerly from the library of Gilbert Eliot, Second Earl of Minto, who was First Lord of the Admiralty from 1835 to 1841. GIlbert’s brother, George Elliot was Commander-in-Chief at the East Indies and China Station during the First Opium War, and to add to that, Gilbert’s cousin, Charles Elliot, was the first administrator of Hong Kong.

Illustrated with three folding maps (a chart of the Nemesis voyage, Canton, and Hong Kong), six engraved plates and eight in-text woodcuts.

Referred to as the ‘devil ship’ by the Chinese, the Nemesis was the first British iron-clad warship, designed with a light draft and sliding keel for coastal and estuarine operations. Launched in 1839 for the East India Company, the British used her to great effect in the First Anglo-Chinese War under Hall.

‘Considered to be the best account of the Opium War (1839-1842)’ – Bibliotheca Wittockiana,
Western Travellers in China. 
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Price HK$ 26,000



1857 to 1858
The original 320 page hand-written journal of Captain Robert Jenkins, during his time as Commander of HMS Actaeon for the year 1857 and HMS Comus in 1857, both ships active off the coast of China, mostly around Canton. Included is a hand drawn and water coloured sketch of Chinese villagers being forced to kowtow to the Union Jack. Finely bound in contemporary black calf and brass locks.

HMS Actaeon was commissioned in 1857 to serve as a survey vessel off the coast of China, under the command of Captain William Thornton Bate. She was present at the bombardment of Canton in 1857,where Bate was shot and killed on 29th. December. Captain Robert Jenkins took over the command of the ship and his journal refers to the bombardment of Canton, surveying factories, disputes over land between British and Chinese merchants. It also covers skirmishes with armed junks and defence of the Barrier. Locations include Hong Kong ,Canton, Macao and Amoy.

According to the Journal it appears that Jenkins was wounded seriously on June 30th 1858, and on September 16th ‘Joined Commander J Ward, [vice?] Captain R Jenkins discharged to Half Pay’, September 18th ‘I went to Shanghai with Commander Ward’, from wence Jenkins travelled to Hong Kong, Singapore, Penang, Galli, Aden, Alexandria, Malta, Gibralter, Falmouth, arriving in Southampton 19th November, one month after leaving Shanghai.

Journal Size 29 x 23.5 cm. pp. [4] [144 (1st January to 31st December 1857 as Commander of HMS Comus)] [9 (Summary of year 1857 as Commander of HMS Comus)] [1]; [7(January 1-19th, last days as Commander of HMS Comus)] [1] [92 (January 20th to 19th November as Commander of HMS Actaeon)] [4] [8 (Summary of year 1857 as Commander of HMS Actaeon)] [50]. Paper watermarked ‘1852’ ‘Fellows’.
 
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Price HK$ 130,000



Hong-Kong to London - Peter George Laurie

Circa 1872 - Simmons & Co., London - First Edition
A fine and rare signed little travelogue of an expatriate’s journey home from the Far East in the 1870’s.

This was no twelve hour Cathay business class flight for Peter Laurie (1838-1912) who worked with Jardine Matheson & Co. as an agent in Hong Kong, then Shanghai.

The twelve month journey begins with ‘
a good blow down the China Sea to Singapore, and fine weather thence to Penang and Calcutta’. Then overland on the new main railway line from Calcutta to Benares, which he describes as in a state of incompletion, with the stations not yet finished. From Benares they tour India on the old railway lines between Allahabad, Cawnpore, Lucknow, and Delhi, returning to Allahabad. The final leg of the recenyl completed Calcutta to Bombay rail link, took them through Jubbulpore ‘the junction of the two great Indian railways’ (a combined network of 4,000 miles). This route was one inspiration for Jules Verne’s ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’.

Interlaced with Laurie’s details of the railways are thoughts and observations on the recent Indian rebellion and the sieges of both Cawnpore and Lucknow and subsequent massacres.

Embarking on one of the Peninsular & Oriental Company’s steamers, Laurie proceeds direct through the Suez Canal to Port Said and then Alexandria. Squeezed into the last two pages is the final leg, being passage to Brindisi, rail through Europe - Rome, Florence, and ‘
owing to the Franco-Prussian war, and the impossibility of passing through France’, Venice, Munich, Cologne, Brussels, and they ‘are once again in “Merrie England”’ 
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Price HK$ 8,000



Borneo and the Indian Archipelago. With Drawings of Costume and Scenery - Frank S. Marryat

1848 - Longman, London - First Edition
A superbly illustrated work on Indonesia, and Rajah Brooke, with additional detail on Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

Illustrations include a chromolithographed colour frontispiece and additional title, twenty tinted lithographic plates, and thirty-seven woodcuts. Many of Marryat’s expertly lithographed drawings represent the earliest ethnographical records of life in Borneo and the Indian Archipelago

Frank Marryat served as a Midshipman on board the H.M.S. Samarang on a surveying expedition to the Indian Archipelago, 1843-1846, cut short in consequence, as Mr. Marryat infers, of the ill-conditioned behaviour and unpopularity of her captain, Sir Edward Belcher.
 
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Price HK$ 18,000



Queensland Past and Present 1897 - INSCRIBED - Thornhill Weedon

1898 - Edmund Gregory, Brisbane - Second Issue
A wonderful association copy with links to Hong Kong. Inscribed by Weedon to ‘G.F. Bowen’ – Sir George Ferguson Bowen – former Governor of Queensland (1859-1868) and later the Governor of Hong Kong (1883-1887), to front endpaper, and with the author’s ‘with compliment’s’ card laid in.

An uncommon copy of this informative review of Queensland, first published in 1896 and updated over the following years, undertaken while Weedon was compiler of statistics for the Registrar-General’s Office. Includes chapters on geography, population, production, trade, and a brief historical sketch, among others. Illustrated with a folding colour map of Queensland, together with sixteen full page black and white photographs.
 
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Price HK$ 2,000



A Brief History of Hongkong - Winifred A. Wood

1940 - South China Morning Post, Hong Kong - First Edition - Limited to 1, 000 Copies, this being number 440
A fine copy of this rare little book, starting with a list of administrators and governors, followed by chapters in chronological order, chapter 1 - 1841; Chapter II (1841-1848); and so on, ending with ‘The Colony at the Present Time’. This last ebullient chapter giving no indication of the dark times to come, although briefly mentioning the large influx of refugees from China due to Sino-Japanese hostilities, but also noting that this has been beneficial for the manufacturing industry (giving examples of increased demand for gas masks, metal helmets, field telephones and receiving sets etc.).

With a nice sketch map of Hong Kong, New Territories and the outlying islands.
 
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Price HK$ 3,500



Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai, and Other Treaty Ports of China - Arnold Wright, H. A. Cartwright

1908 - Lloyd’s Greater Britain Publishing Company, London - First Edition
A massive and exhaustive work, illustrated with well over a thousand black and white photographs. Containing 270 detailed pages dedicated to Hong Kong, 324 pages to Shanghai, and 150 pages to the remaining treaty ports.

Covering not only history, culture and government, but details on the major conglomerates, companies, industries, clubs (business, social and sporting), and leading figures of the day. There is nothing comparable.

Scarce and even more so in such exceptional condition in the original publisher’s gilt decorated binding.
 
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Price HK$ 45,000