William Dampier handwritten letter achieves $111,000



2015-06-26 14:08:27

A handwritten letter by William Dampier proved the headline lot of a sale of books and manuscripts at Bonhams London on March 18, achieving £74,500 ($110,814).

Dampier (1651-1715) was one of the most important explorers of his generation. He was among the first Europeans in Australia and  became the first man to circumnavigate the globe three times in 1711.

This early and well-known letter was written to Colonel William Helyar, the owner of a plantation in Jamaica. Dampier had travelled there to work in 1674.

He describes his disappointment at how the overseer, William Whaley, treated him on his arrival: "I was so well recieved by Mr. Whaley so wellcume to him soe gratious in his Eyes that I thought my selfe moste happy but this was to sweet to holde for Ever I was nipt in my bud & before I was well awake out of this pleasant dream I found my selfe: like one lead by an Ignis fatuus just ready in his thoughts to enter into his house when the false light leaves him & he findes himselfe either in A great pond of water or falling down sum deep precipice ready to breake his neck…

"so soone as he thought hee had got mee under his lash he thought on nothing but how to abuse me."

Image: Bonhams

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