William Dampier handwritten letter to make $123,000?

A handwritten letter by William Dampier (1651-1715), the first Englishman to set foot in Australia, is to cross the block at Bonhams London on March 18.

It will provide one of the highlights of a fine books and manuscripts sale, with an estimate of £60,000-80,000 ($92,281-123,042).

Dampier letter Bonhams
William Dampier was the first Englishman in Australia

The letter was written to Colonel William Helyar, the owner of a sugar plantation in Jamaica where Dampier was working in 1674.

He writes of his mistreatment at the hands of the overseer, William Whaley: "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."

Dampier was one of the defining explorers of his era. In addition to his discoveries in Australia, he was the first person to circumnavigate the globe three times.

The present lot is the only letter from him in private hands. 

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