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49. [LA PÉROUSE, Jean-François de Galaup (1741-1788)]. Voyage de La Pérouse Autour du Monde, Publié Conformément
au Décret du 22 Avril 1791, et Rédigé par M. L. A. Milet-Mureau,
Général de Brigade dans le Corps du Génie, Directeur des Fortifications,
Ex-Constituant, Membre de Plusieurs Sociétés Littéraires de Paris....
Paris: De L’Imprimerie de la République, [Imprimé par les soins de
P. D. Duboy-Laverne] An V. (1797). 5 vols.: 4 vols., 4to (text) +
folio (atlas). Text:  lxxii, 346  +  398  + 
422  +  309 pp., copper-engraved frontispiece portrait of La
Pérouse. 4 vols., large 4to, original blue and green boards, printed
paper spine labels (expertly rebacked, original spines and printed
spine labels retained). Fragile original boards and labels worn, stained,
and rubbed, occasional mild foxing to text, but overall a very good
to fine copy—a very desirable, uncut large paper copy, in original
boards, printed on very pale green thick paper. The leaves measure
30.9 x 23.6 cm (12-1/4 x 9-5/16 inches), same as the Henry H. Clifford and
Thomas W. Streeter copies. Preserved in a black cloth box. Atlas:
[2, copper-engraved emblematic title (including a chart of
the Pacific showing the track of the voyage)] pp., 69 copper-engraved
plates, maps, and charts on thick paper, one of which is folding
and 20 double-page [see below for a partial list of maps, charts,
and profiles]. The frontispiece portrait of La Pérouse found in some
copies of the atlas is not present in this copy (Lada-Mocarski 
states that the portrait is sometimes absent in the large paper variant
of the atlas, like the present copy). Large folio, full contemporary
calf (expertly rebacked in a style sympathetic with the four volumes
of text). The atlas is the large paper issue (57 x 44.4 cm; 22-1/2
x 16-3/4 inches), apparently slightly trimmed when bound, but still
with generous margins, only slightly shorter than the Clifford atlas,
which was uncut, and a bit taller than Streeter’s copy of the atlas.
Some outer wear to atlas, but overall very fine, all of the maps,
charts, and plates fresh, bright, and in good, strong impressions.
All in all, this is a handsome set of a rare voyage.
Maps, charts, and profiles of California and Northwest Coast interest:
Plate 1: Mappe monde ou carte réduite des parties connues du globe pour servir au voyage de La Pérouse fait dans les annés 1785, 1786, 1787, et 1788... (59.5 x 92.7 cm; 23-1/2 x 36-1/2 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 837. First printing of this key world map on the Mercator projection centering on the Pacific. Coastal details are emphasized, and the route of La Pérouse’s voyage to Botany Bay is tracked.
Plate 3: Carte du Grand Océan ou Mer du Sud dressée pour la relation du voyage de découvertes... (49.5 x 69.3 cm; 19-5/8 x 27-1/4 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 838. This map gives good detail on the island groups explored. It includes all of North America, most of South America, and the eastern coast of Asia. Australia is shown, with its southern coast unexplored. Bits of the New Zealand and New Guinea coastlines still remain blank.
Plate 15: Carte des côtes de l’Amérique et de l’Asie, depuis la Californie jusqu’à Macao... (50 x 68.5 cm; 19-5/8 x 27 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 839. Chart showing the coast of America and Asia from California to Macao.
Plate 16: Carte général d’une partie de la côte du nord-ouest de l’Amérique... (67.2 x 49.5 cm; 26-1/2 x 19-3/8 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 840. Detailed chart of the Northwest from Monterey to Mount St. Elias in Alaska, locating all known harbors and delineating coastal topography, including elevations, rivers, bays, points, and capes.
Plates 17, 29, and 31: (Plate 17) Carte Particulière de la côte du nord-ouest de l'Amérique...1e. feuille... (Plate 29) Carte Particulière de la côte du nord-ouest de l'Amérique...2e. feuille... (Plate 31) Carte Particulière de la côte du nord-ouest de l'Amérique...3e...feuille. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 841, 844, 845. Three plates each containing three sections, showing the same coastal area as in Plate 16. Each plate measures approximately 49.5 x 67 cm (19-1/2 x 26-1/2 inches). Plate 31 illustrates the Pacific from Monterey Bay almost to the Columbia River.
Plate 19: Plan du Port des Français (50 x 69 cm; 19-3/4 x 27-1/4 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 842. This map illustrates Lituya Bay, on the southern coast of Alaska, the only haven for seafarers facing the open sweep of the Pacific on the passage north from Cross Sound to Yakutat. La Pérouse recommended that France establish its base in Alaska at Port des Français, which he described in his journal as “perhaps the most extraordinary place in the world.” Unfortunately, on July 13, 1786, La Pérouse’s “calm waters” suddenly swallowed up 21 of his finest officers and men as they attempted to sound the waters at the entrance to Lituya Bay. None of the bodies were recovered. This site with its potential for terror is probably best known for the earthquake-caused tsunami on July 8, 1958, the first wave of which reached a height of some 1,720 feet, said to be the biggest wave ever recorded.
Plate 26: Plan de l’entrée du Port de Bucarelli (50 x 69 cm; 19-3/4 x 27-1/4 inches). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 843. Wagner mentions similarity to Dalrymple’s 1789 map (but with corrections). La Pérouse stated that he acquired the plan in Manila in 1787 (probably from Mourelle, according to Wagner). Bucarelli Bay in southeast Alaska was for a time thought to be the entrance to the Northwest Passage. La Pérouse was among the early European visitors to the area.
Plate 33: Plan du Port de St. François, situé sur la côte de la Californie Septiontrionale... (50.2 x 33.5 cm; 19-3/8 x 13-1/8 inches). Early printed map of the port of San Francisco (preceded by various incarnations by Cañizares, Dalrymple, and Vancouver). Harlow, Maps of San Francisco Bay 15. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 846. Wagner states that this plan of San Francisco Bay was copied from Camacho’s map of 1779 (see Wagner 667).
Plate 34: Plan de la Baie de Monterey... (33.4 x 50.1 cm; 13-1/4 x 19-3/8 inches). Harlow, Maps of the Pueblo Lands of San Diego, p. 10: “On September 15, 1786...La Pérouse anchored in Monterey Bay—among the spouting whales.... He sent home a chart of Monterey Bay, made in part from his own surveys.” Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 847. Early printed plan of Monterey Bay, said by Wagner to have been drawn by some of La Pérouse’s officers.
Plate 35: Plan du Port de St. Diego... [with] Plan du Port et Department de St. Blas... (48 x 33.6 cm; 18-7/8 x 13-1/4 inches). Two charts on one sheet. Second printed map of San Diego (preceded by Dalrymple’s 1789 printed chart based on Juan Pantoja y Arriaga’s 1782 manuscript map of the port of San Diego; see Wagner 687). Harlow, Maps of the Pueblo Lands of San Diego 9: “When the first president of the Mexican republic came to issue a series of charts of Mexico’s coasts in 1825, that of San Diego was...a virtual copy of the one in the 1797 La Pérouse atlas.” Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 848. See Muriel Strickland’s comments in California 49: Forty-Nine Maps of California from the Sixteenth Century to the Present (19) referring to this French printing. Regarding the other chart on this plate, San Blas (on the coast of Nayarit) was established as a Naval Department by José de Gálvez in 1768 for the specific purpose of supplying the new missions and presidios to be founded in Alta California.
Plate 36: Perdrix, Mâle et Femele, de la Californie (26.5 x 40 cm; 10-1/2 x 15-3/4 inches). Zamorano 80 #49 (Robert J. Woods): “The first picture of the crested quail to be shown in Europe.” This beautiful species, the California Quail (Callipepla californica), was named the official California State Bird in 1931. Its original range stretched from Baja California to a small portion of Western Nevada and the southern counties of Oregon.
Plate 37: Promerops de la Californie Septentrionale (40.7 x 25.4 cm; 16 x 10 inches). This ornithological plate depicts the California thrasher, which is endemic to the coastal and foothill areas of California, extending with the chaparral vegetation into adjacent areas of northwest Baja California. This species was first collected by the La Pérouse expedition, probably at Monterey in 1786.
Plate 67: 2 charts on one double-page sheet: Partie de la Mer du Sud comprise entre les Philippines et la Californie (49.5 x 67.3 cm; 19-1/2 x 26-1/2 inches). The two charts depict the Pacific between California and Manila and show the tracks of the voyages of Anson, the Spanish galleon, and La Pérouse.The first edition of La Pérouse’s Voyage is one of the great and rare voyages for California history (and many other parts of the world, for that matter). It is also a beautiful specimen of eighteenth-century French printing and bookmaking. (5 vols.) ($15,000-30,000)
|49A. LA PÉROUSE, Jean-François
de Galaup. A Voyage round the World in the Years 1785, 1786, 1787,
and 1788.... Edited by M. L. A. Milet-Mureau.... London: Printed
for J. Johnson, 1798. x  532 + x, 498 + viii, 446, 60 (tables)
pp., copper-engraved frontispiece portrait, 41 copper-engraved plates,
maps, and charts (some folding), printed music in text. 3 vols., 8vo,
contemporary three-quarter calf over marbled boards, spines with red
morocco gilt-lettered labels. Three joints cracked, spines worn, dry,
and cracking, occasional foxing, four pages browned where acidic invoices
were laid in, overall very good. Laid in is the invoice of San Francisco
bookseller Gelber and Lilienthal to Beatrice Simpson Volkmann in the
amount of $20 dated January 2, 1940. Engraved armorial bookplates
of F. Fairfax Best and old ink signatures of Thos. J. Best
and Frances Archer(?). Small engraved label of I. V. Hall of Maidstone.
First edition in English. Several versions and abridgments of the official account of La Pérouse’s expedition were published in London in 1798 as English publishers rushed to be the first to print the account while public interest was still high regarding the disappearance of the ill-fated expedition. Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 288 (see Forbes 287 where he maintains that the prevailing assumption that Stockdale’s edition in two volumes was the earliest English version is probably incorrect and states that the present Johnson edition is more likely the first English edition). Ferguson, Australia 270. Hill, p. 471; p. 174n: “There are three separate translations into English from the original French of which two, the one published by Stockdale and that published by Johnson, appeared in the same year, 1798. The preface to the Stockdale edition leads one to suppose that Johnson’s was issued slightly earlier.” Howes L93. McLaren 4. Norris 2020. The bibliographical records on this set are not in agreement as to the number of plates. The list of plates in the book enumerates 42 plates with one title apparently repeated; 41 plates are present in the Volkmann copy (as was the case with the Clifford copy, as well as many copies that have appeared at auction and been offered by dealers). In the rush to print in order to satisfy the public’s eager desire to learn more about the sensational disappearance of the La Pérouse expedition, it is not surprising that variations exist. The plans of San Diego, San Blas, San Francisco, and Monterey are not present in this edition. (3 vols.) ($600-1,200)
49B. LA PÉROUSE, Jean-François de Galaup.
A Voyage round the World, Performed in the Years 1785, 1786,
1787, and 1788.... Published by Order of the National Assembly, under
the Superintendence of L. A. Milet-Mureau...Translated from the French.
London: Printed by A. Hamilton, for G. G. and J. Robinson,
Paternoster-Row; J. Edwards, Pall-Mall; and T. Payne, Mews-Gate,
Castle-Street, 1799 (text) & 1798 (atlas). 3 vols.:
2 vols., 4to (text) + folio (atlas). Text:  lvi,
539 + viii -240, 249-304, *297-*304, 305-312, *305-*312, 313-320,
*313-*320, 321-531  [14, index] [1, errata] pp., copper-engraved
portrait. 2 vols., 4to, full contemporary tree calf with ornamental gilt
borders on upper and lower covers, gilt-decorated spines with original
black and green leather labels (label at foot of each spine gilt-stamped
“I. Woolery’s”), marbled endpapers, inner gilt dentelles matching
ornamental rule on covers. Vol. 1 lacking half-title; also without
the “List of the Charts and Plates to the Atlas” (often lacking).
Bindings worn, rubbed, and dry, two joints starting
to split and occasional inconsequential foxing to text. Atlas:
[2, engraved title] 68 (of 69) copper-engraved maps & plates.
Folio, contemporary three-quarter calf over marbled boards, gilt-decorated
spine with original black and green gilt-lettered leather labels (label
at foot of spine gilt-stamped “I. Woolery’s”), marbled endpapers.
Atlas lacking Plate 15 (chart of the coasts of America and Asia from California
to Macao), but the large folding Chart No. I (world map) which is
often lacking is present in this copy. Several atlas plates cropped
close by a careless binder (occasional slight losses to border or
plate numbers; unfortunately Plate 16 has a larger loss, with right
and left edges cropped such that the coastal area south of Monterey
to San Diego is not present). Atlas with mild to moderate foxing.
Other than missing Plate 15 and cropped Plate 16, this is a very good
to near fine set of this exceedingly rare edition, with engraved armorial
bookplates of F. S. Stallknecht.
Among the most important facets of the Enlightenment were voyages
of circumnavigation undertaken for scientific observation. Initiated
for France by Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bouganville in 1767, and for
England by James Cook in 1769, geographic, cartographic, hydrographic,
geological, astronomical, meteorological, zoological, botanical,
and ethnographic data were collected by scientists specifically assigned
to these expeditions. As a means of expanding knowledge acquired
by Cook between 1769 and his death in 1779, following the Treaty of Paris
ending the American Revolution, France determined to surpass England
in science and, in 1785 gave command of a major expedition of circumnavigation
to Jean-François de Galaup, Comte de la Pérouse, who, after twenty
years of naval service, had gained fame for his successful surprise
capture of Fort Prince of Wales on Hudson Bay in 1782.
——W. Michael Mathes
Item 49. Engraved portrait of La Pérouse (1741-1788).
Item 49. Engraved emblematic title of La Pérouse’s atlas, including a chart of the Pacific showing the track of the voyage.
Item 49. Engraved chart from La Pérouse’s atlas.
Item 49. The California State Bird—“The first picture of the crested quail to be shown in Europe” (Woods).
Item 49. Engraving of the California thrasher, first collected by the La Pérouse expedition (probably at Monterey in 1786).
Item 49. Early printed chart of the port of San Francisco, from La Pérouse’s atlas (Harlow, Maps of San Francisco Bay 15).
Item 49. Early printed chart of Monterey Bay, from La Pérouse’s atlas.
Item 49. Second printed map of San Diego, from La Pérouse’s atlas (Harlow, Maps of the Pueblo Lands of San Diego 9).