2 MONEY, W. T./ On shipbuilding in India 106


Description: On shipbuilding in India, with special emphasis on the use of teak

MONEY, William Taylor.
Observations on the expediency of shipbuilding at Bombay, for the service of His Majesty, and the East India Company.

London, printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown (back of title-page and colophon: printed by Elizabeth Blackader), 1811. 8vo. Modern half calf in convincing period style, gold- and blind-tooled spine, Storemont marbled sides. With a stipple-engraved frontispiece portrait of the Bombay shipbuilder Jamsetjee Bomanjee, drawn by Edward Nash and engraved by William Haines. 73, [1 blank], 14 pp.

First and only edition of a detailed series of arguments promoting the use of Indian teak for shipbuilding, by William Money (1769-1834), superintendent of the Bombay Marine Board from 1803 to 1810 and later director of the British East India Company. He argues that teak is superior to oak for ships sailing in warm waters because it resists worm damage and notes that it is abundantly available on India’s western Malabar coast, while there was a great scarcity of English Oak. He therefore suggests the British East India Company have ships built in India, avoiding the expense of shipping the wood to the London shipyards. He includes the frontispiece portrait of Jamsetjee Bomanjee (1756-1821) who built the first British Royal Navy ship to ordered to be built abroad, the 1810 Minden. He signs the dedication, to Jacob Bosanquet, chairman of the board of the British East India Company, from Bombay, 1 November 1811. The appendices give long extracts from seven recent letters (from 1802 to 1810) concerning ship building in India from 1735 to the present. The last two leaves, containing the last three letters as printed (they are not in chronologial order) are lacking in some copies.
The portrait of Bomanjee (ca. 1754-1821) was drawn by Edward Nash in Bombay ca. 1809 and stipple-engraved by William Haines (1778-1848) in London. The oil painting at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is said to have been painted posthumously based on the present engraving ( Since the painting shows a larger scene and the engraving is a mirror-image, however, it may be that both are based on Nash’s drawing.
The London printer Walter Blackader married Elizabeth Shearer in 1800, but died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1805. She continued the printing office until 1813, always giving her name in imprints or colophons as “E. Blackader”. The book is printed on wove paper with no watermark, and it looks like some of the earliest machine-made paper. If it is machine-made, it is an unusually early example of machine-made paper used for book printing.
Author’s presentation copy, with “from the author” at the head of the title-page and with a July 1812 inscription by what must the recipient, J.D. Thompson, perhaps meaning the Breconshire magistrate James Duncan Thomson (d. 1851). With a tear and a couple creases in the last leaf, and a slight offset from the engraved portrait onto the title-page, but the book and binding are otherwise in very good condition, with generous margins. An important and detailed primary source for the history of shipbuilding in India.
Goldsmith’s Lib. 20255 (not noting the plate); Kress Lib. B5872 (lacking 2 ll. and not noting the plate); not in Arnold Arboretum; Bradley; Bruzelius.
  • Number: 1060610 (H2JH3AMZLHM9)
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum