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Lot 18


“First Printed Account of Man’s Entry into the Region South of Antarctic Circle”—Spence

18. [COOK’S SECOND VOYAGE]. [MARRA, John]. Journal of the Resolution’s Voyage, in 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775. On Discovery to the Southern Hemisphere, by which the Non-Existence of an Undiscovered Continent, between the Equator and the 50th Degree of Southern Latitude, is Demonstratively Proved. Also a Journal of the Adventure's Voyage, in the Years 1772, 1773, and 1774. With an Account of the Separation of the Two Ships, and the Most Remarkable Incidents that Befel each... London: F. Newbery, 1775. xiii [1], 328 pp., 1 copper-engraved folded map (untitled map showing the routes to the Pacific), 5 copper-engraved plates (scenes, views). 8vo, contemporary sheep laid down, spine with raised bands and red gilt-lettered morocco label (expertly rebacked to style). Scattered foxing and staining to text, more pronounced towards end of text block. Map in fine condition, some mild staining to a few plates. Contemporary ink signature of H. Edwards, surgeon, Carnavan, 1776, on title page and an ink manuscript note apparently in his hand on p. 19. A very good copy of a very rare book.

     First edition, first issue (with D2 uncancelled), of the first authentic account of Cook’s second voyage to be published and the “first printed account of man's entry into the region South of Antarctic Circle” (Spence). Bagnall 3371. Beaglehole II, pp. cliii-clv. Beddie 1270. Cox I, pp. 58-59. Davidson, p. 60: “A vital second voyage item.” Hill I, p. 160. Hill II:1087. Hocken, p. 14: “A very rare account.” Holmes 16. Kroepelien 809. O’Reilly-Reitman 379. Rosove 214.A1. Sabin 16247. Spence 758. Streeter Sale 2408.

     Although this work seems to be the product of a fairly illiterate man who just happened to come upon an editor who knew how to inflate his story to the point that it filled a volume, it is nevertheless considered valuable for many of the details it adds about the second voyage, many of which did not appear in the official account published eighteen months later. Apparently Marra’s ghost writer was David Henry, who was in charge of the Gentleman’s Magazine. As Beaglehole remarks: “He had already had experience in compiling voyages, and would have had no difficulty in knocking together Marra’s journal, or notes, and other materials” (Vol. II, p. cliv).

     Among material not found in the official account is the story of how Joseph Banks and his associates came to withdraw from the voyage, leaving the Forsters to fill their places. Another interesting sidelight is that Marra includes the first reports of mirages in the Antarctic region (see below).

     Newbery also seems to have had a good sense of public appetite for this work because he went to the trouble and expense of having six copperplates engraved for illustrations, probably not a cost borne by Marra himself. The map is the first to show a ship track that went south of the Antarctic Circle and one of the plates is the first to show a landscape from the area.

     Launched to discover the truth about the rumored Southern Continent, Cook’s second voyage laid to rest the theory of its existence. The author’s entry for January 26, 1774, may serve to sum up the entire question: “At eleven crossed the Antarctic circle to the southward for the 2d time, and hauled up S. E. by E. where they were persuaded land was. But to their great disappointment, the farther they sailed, the farther the land seemed to bear from them; and at length it wholly vanished” (p. 123). Cook did predict, however, that Antarctica would be found farther south.

     Of almost equal importance to its geographical discoveries, however, are the revelations the voyage held for maritime health. Of 118 men on the voyage, only one died of disease. The diary entry for November 6, 1773, notes: “But while the crew was thus kept to labour, the greatest attention was paid to their health: they had every day plenty of celery, scurvy-grass, and other wholesome plants to boil with their pease, in which likewise a quantity of portable soup was always an ingredient” (p. 101). On December 9, 1773, the entry notes: “This day, by Doctor’s order, served pickled cabbage to the ship’s company” (p. 109). So valuable a substance was cabbage that Cook ordered four tons of the salted variety for the voyage in addition to a novel carrot marmalade. Thus, insensibly, did medical science make great inroads into preserving health on long ocean voyages. ($7,500-15,000)

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