This map accompanied an account of the scientific voyage and whaling classic of the ‘Baffin’ by Captain William Scoresby (1789-1857) to the waters of the North Atlantic. Scoresby was an arctic scientist and clergyman, the son of William Scoresby (1760-1829) an arctic whaler. He made his first voyage to the arctic with his father when he was just ten years old. Apprenticed to his father in 1803 he made annual trips to the whale fisheries each summer until 1823. In 1806 they reached a record 81 degrees 30 minutes north. In 1806 he enrolled at Edinburgh University and spent the winters studying. The University encouraged him to undertake research during his voyages. He even received suggestions from Sir Joseph Banks. In 1810 he took command of his father’s ship, the ‘Resolution’.
From 1813 to 1817 he was in command of the larger ‘Esk’ and made numerous important discoveries. He suggested to Banks that a government sponsored exploration of the arctic should occur. It did, but under the command of the navy. In 1819 he moved to Liverpool to oversee the construction of the whaler, ‘Baffin’, which he had designed. He had designed a new harpoon gun which proved very successful. So much so that the crew felt it was a threat to their livelihood. The ‘Journal of a voyage to Greenland, in the year 1821’, published in 1822 included many fine illustrations and this chart. All of them were produced by the new lithographic process and are very early examples by James Duffield Harding (1797-1863) and printed by Charles Joseph Hullmandel (1789-1850).
The Journal itself is written by George William Manby (1765-1854), fellow of the Royal Society, who accompanied Scoresby on the voyage. The track of the voyage is recorded taking them first to Spitzbergen, then along the coast of Greenland, to Iceland before returning home. Manby’s account of whaling is a classic providing a vivid picture of the practice. In 1822 Scoresby mapped the East coast of Greenland which brought him much acclaim. He also attracted the attention of Humphry Davy whose was interested in his research on magnetic variation. The ‘Baffin’ went on to sink in 1830, a year in which 19 out of 90 ships in the whaling fleet were lost to terrible weather in the Davis Strait. Arctic Bib. 10844; ODNB; Sabin 44195.