Manuscript diary of a journey to New Zealand and other far-away places
Manuscript diary of a journey to New Zealand and other far-away places
Manuscript diary of a journey to New Zealand and other far-away places

Manuscript diary of a journey to New Zealand and other far-away places

n.p., n.d. [at sea, on the road, 1893-94.]. 4to, pp. [82]; Liverpool stationer's label on paste-down, edges marbled, extremities a bit rubbed, else a very good copy in black limp morocco. Laid in are approx. 20 octavo manuscript leaves from an unknown American women's diary dated October 1887 - August 1891. A lively account of a voyage around the world, with some interesting details of travel in the United States, Australia, Tasmania, and Hawaii, but primarily covering New Zealand. The author, presumably an American man (as per the style of dating, use of syntax, etc. --and perhaps living in the England at the time) identified only as JHM, begins the journey from Liverpool bound for Chicago via New York, to spend several days at the Chicago World's Fair. He traveled on the Shaw, Savill & Albion steamer SS Tainui, stopping in Las Palmas (Canary Islands), Cape Town, and Hobart, and arriving in Wellington on January 9, 1894. He spent a month traveling around New Zealand by rail, steamer, and stage coach, and offers detailed commentary on the characteristics of transportation and accommodation (with many individual hotels mentioned), as well as the appearance and commercial activities of the principal towns. Includes a visit to Cable Bay telegraph station, with details on the method of transmission, detecting and repairing damage to the cables, etc. One of the most engaging sections describes a perilous (if beautiful) journey through Buller Gorge, as his party finds themselves at the mercy of a coach driver so reckless as to cause them to "consider the advisability of setting down until a railroad is built through this part of the country". JHM then spends a week in Australia, traveling by rail from Melbourne ("the finest city in the Colonies") to Sydney (where "streets are generally narrow and running in all directions. Steam trains operate over different parts of the city, but they are noisy, dangerous and very objectionable."). He offers a detailed comparison of rail travel (size of track, type of cars, services available etc.) in Australia, England, and the United States. The return journey takes him to Honolulu (arriving 4, March 1894), where he describes the quarantine (smallpox) and customs procedures (searching for guns and opium), and the air of political tension ("the Steam launches from the British and Americans in turn came alongside and a Lt. from each came on board, looked over the ship's papers, took some memos, and withdrew, all this being done with such an air of importance and authority--gave one the idea that surely something was up."). He also offers details on the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the cultivation and preparation of taro root. The final leg of the journey takes JHM through San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Colorado Springs, and Denver, but these are only briefly described. Item #34260

Price: $1,500.00

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