A Voyage to the North Pole, by Benjamin Bragg, Accompanied by his Friend, Captain Slapperwhack; with an Account of the Dangers and Accidents They Experienced in the Frozen Seas of the Polar Circle. Also, the Manner of their Wintering on the Island of Spitzberg, and Discovery of the Polar Continent.

An imaginary voyage posing as a piece of juvenile literature, though on a sophisticated level with remarkable insights into the Arctic at such an early date. Apart from land in the North Pole region, it gets many of the details right and one wonders whether Mary Shelley could have read it. I’ve not detected who the author was, though there was a bookseller of the time named Benjamin Bragg.

From Abebooks listing: G. Walker, n.d. (circa 1817), London:, 1817. This volume was once owned by the Library of The American Museum of Natural History as evidenced by the book plate on the front paste down and the embossed seal on the title page. The title for this volume is a slight variation from the original publication which was: A Voyage to the North Pole. The full title reads: "The Surprising Voyage of Captain Bragg in A Journey To Discover The North Pole; describing The Unheard-Of Hardships That He Encountered Whilst Wintering In Greenland; Being The Most Extraordinary Voyage Ever Performed In That Latitude." Although this is a work of fiction for young readers it was based on the most reliable sources of information at the time. Its publication, along with other sources, helped to give rise to the myth that the young Horatio Nelson was one of the participants in the story. Illustrated with a frontispiece and a fold-out map of the top of the world as it was known at the turn of the 19th century.

p. 2: I read with delight every book of voyages and travels, especially to the north, which I could either purchase or borrow.

As it was my father’s intention that I should superintend the counting-house, he gave me a very excellent education, and when I left school, he placed me at the desk, where I had much leisure time to pursue my favourite branch of reading, and also to study the nature and theory of the earth on which we dwell.

p. 6: In the spring my friend Slapperwhack sailed with the whalers, and my business in Amsterdam being settled, I returned to Hull, with a considerable addition of maps and books to my library.