John Meares Esq.
Stipple, sheet 185 x 130mm (7¼ x 5"). Trimmed inside platemark. Fine impression.
John Meares (1756?-1809), naval officer and entrepreneur. Nothing is known of his life before he entered the navy in 1771. After commanding a ship to India in 1783 he formed a company for trading with north-west America, unaware of other expeditions being mounted at this time with the same aim, and the competition between Meares and his rival George Dixon became known as the Meares-Dixon controversy. Meares' attempts to establish a permanent base in Nootka Sound led to his associates being taken prisoner by Spaniards claiming that the coast was in the possession of Spain and that foreign ships trading were in violation of Spanish rights. Meares (himself based in China at this time) returned to England on receiving news of these events, and provided ministers with a 'colourful and far from accurate account' of his exploits in the Far East. This led to a forty ship fleet being assembled under Lord Howe, and the Spanish accession to British demands in 1790 in the face of this threat. All confiscated land was returned to British subjects and the north-west coast was opened to trade with all nations. The publicity Meares received enabled him to publish various books and pamphlets relating to his travels, although he faded from view after the crisis passed.
For plates from Meares' books see refs 11082, 11428 etc.
[Ref: 35841] £160.00