Life on a Whaler; or, Antarctic Adventures in the Isle of Desolation.

Narrative of a whaling voyage from New London, Connecticut to the South Indian Ocean aboard the ship Julius Caesar, August 18, 1851 to June 4, 1853. Taylor was a 28-year-old doctor and the medical officer of the voyage. The manuscript had been prepared for publication in long hand by the author in 1858–including a title page, table of contents, foreword, and chapter headings–but had never been published until this edition, limited to 900 copies, was printed by the New London County Historical Society in 1929. Illustrations by William T. Peters of the U. S. Japan Expedition. Bound in tan cloth over boards with dark brown cloth spine, gilt-stamped spine and upper board, illustrated endpapers. (from ABEBOOKS)

p. 132: Upon one occasion it snowed for three days, precluding all work on deck, and we were thrown upon our own resources to create enjoyment and kindle artificial sunshine below stairs. I had carried from home a large supply of books, and these I freely circulated in both fleets in exchange for others. I was surprised to find that the sailor was a very general reader; in fact he rarely leaves port without adding to his stock of books. Upon one occasion we counted the number of volumes which we knew to be in circulation at the island, and found that it amounted to over three hundred. Story-telling always came to our relief, and whittling and scrimshawing (which is a term for ornamental whalebone work), inlaying boxes or carving toys, helped to drive away many dull hours.

p. 169, a relief ship (Exile, 1853) brought letters and printed matter: My large box was transferred to the ship, and, trembling with anxiety for tidings from distant relatives and friends, I tore off cover after cover of the various packages it contained. Here was a large packet of letters, the perusal and re-perusal of which would occupy my attention for many days; there were twelve numbers of Harper’s New Monthly, which with its record of current events, stories, editors’ table, drawer and chair, were a host in themselves; there were sundry new publications, a file of newspapers, boxes of sardines and cigars… but ‘I won’t go on; I’m almost sorry that I e’er began.’

p. 182, in Cape Town Taylor encounters passengers from a passenger ship during a Sabbath service aboard their ship: Having received some late papers from New York, I bade my newly found acquaintances farewell, not, however, without promise of again meeting on shore and making an exchange of the books which we had read.