The Thrilling True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Sailor’s Extraordinary Voyages
The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner is a recently rediscovered text that vividly renders the unforgettable story of a man whom history has nearly forgotten.
In his many voyages the Scottish-born sailor John Nicol twice circumnavigated the globe, visiting every inhabited continent while witnessing and participating in many of the greatest events of exploration and adventure in the eighteenth century. He traded with Native Americans on the St. Lawrence River and hunted whales in the Arctic Ocean. He fought for the British navy against American privateers in the Atlantic Ocean and Napoléon’s navy in the Mediterranean Sea. In Grenada he witnessed the horrors of the slave system and befriended slaves who invited him to join in their dance celebrations. In the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) he was entertained by the king’s court mere days after the murder of Captain James Cook. En route to Australia he would meet the love of his life, Sarah Whitlam, a convict bound for the Botany Bay prison colony, who would bear his son before duty forced them apart forever.
At the end of his journeys, John Nicol returned to his homeland and a life of obscurity and poverty, until the publisher John Howell met him one day while he was wandering the streets of Edinburgh, searching for dregs of coal to fuel his hearth. After hearing the fascinating stories of Nicol’s seafaring experiences, Howell convinced him to write his memoirs—the publication of which eventually earned Nicol enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his days.
An international bestseller, The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner is a rousing, eminently readable memoir of an ordinary man’s extraordinary life—a great, true-adventure tale. Celebrated scientist and historian Tim Flannery has edited Nicol’s original text, providing accompanying footnotes and an introduction (updated for this North American edition) that give historical context to the sailor’s exploits.
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