The “Pelew Prince” & His Voyage to London
[Keate, George]. The history of Prince Lee Boo, son of Abba Thulle, king of the Pelew Islands. London: Thomas Hughes (pr. by Plummer & Brewis), 1824. 12mo (13.9 cm, 5.47"). 108,  pp.; 3 col. plts.
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Chapbook adaptation of a portion of Keate's Account of the Pelew Islands, Situated in the Western Part of the Pacific Ocean, recounting the true story of one of the earliest Pacific Islanders to visit Great Britain. Captain Henry Wilson, shipwrecked on Palau, brought Prince Lee Boo with him on his return to England; sadly, after just a few months in London, the attractive and engaging 20-year-old died of smallpox.
The present episode from the wildly popular History, which first appeared in 1789, is illustrated withthree copper-engraved, hand-colored plates: the frontispiece depiction of the prince's grave, Wilson's ship setting sail from the island, and Lee Boo's first sight of himself in a mirror. The front cover and frontispiece are dated 1823, while the title-page gives 1824.
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Provenance: Front free endpaper with inked gift inscription dated 1828, “Margaret [?] . . . from her affec. friend Miss [?]; possibly a prize treat given by a teacher to a pupil. Later in the children's book collection of Albert A. Howard, small booklabel (“AHA”) at rear.
Osborne Collection, p. 166 (for first ed.). Publisher's printed wrappers, darkened and with spine and corners chipped; spine unsuccessfully reinforced some time ago and front wrapper (with free endpaper and title-page) now separated, back attachment very fragile. Endpapers with remnants of red wax. Pages age-toned and lightly foxed, with first few corners chipped and offsetting to pages surrounding plates. A sad and absorbing story with well-produced illustrations, now uncommon. (41444)
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