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Lot 12

“Cook earned his place in history by opening up the Pacific to western civilization” (Printing & the Mind of Man)


Full Set of the Three Voyages, in Contemporary Matching Bindings,

Plates & Maps Unfolded and in Separate Atlases

First Voyage

12. HAWKESWORTH, John. An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and Successively Performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Cartaret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavor: Drawn up from the Journals which Were Kept by the Several Commanders, and from the Papers of Joseph Banks, Esq.... London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773. 4 vols., as follows:

Vol. I: [20], xxxiv, [6], 456 pp.

Vol. II: xiv, 410 pp.

Vol. III: 395 [1, blank] pp.

Atlas: 26 maps (11 folding), 26 plates (4 folding).

Total for First Voyage: 52 leaves of copper-engraved plates (scenes, views, Natives, flora, fauna).

     Second and preferred edition (first edition 1773) of the official account, with Dalrymple’s response to the first edition and the map of the Straits of Magellan, neither of which appeared in the first edition; pagination begins anew in each vol. Bagnall 2514n. Beaglehole I, pp. cclxiii-ccliii. Beddie 650. Borba de Moraes I, pp. 394-395. Cox I, pp. 19-20 & 56-57: “One of the literary triumphs of the day.” Davidson, pp. 49-50 (“preferable to obtain a later issue”). Hill II:783 (“considered the best one”). Hocken, pp. 10-11. Holmes 5n. Kroepelien 535n. National Maritime Museum: Voyages 565. O’Reilly-Reitman 367. Palau 112562. Sabin 30934n.

Second Voyage

COOK, James. A Voyage Towards the South Pole, and Round the World. Performed in His Majesty’s Ships the Resolution and Adventure, In the Years 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775. Written by James Cook, Commander of the Resolution. In which Is Included, Captain Furneaux’s Narrative of His Proceedings in the Adventure during the Separation of the Ships.... The Third Edition. London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1779. 3 vols. as follows:

Vol. I: xxxix, [1], 378 pp.

Vol. II: [8], 396 pp., 1 folding letterpress table.

Atlas: Plates 49 plates (1 folding), 14 maps (4 folding).

Total for Second Voyage: 63 copper-engraved leaves of plates (scenes, views, Natives).

     Third (and preferred) edition (first edition, 1777) of the official account, here with Discourse corrected. Bagnall 1398n. Beaglehole II, pp. cxliii-cxlviii. Beddie 1226 (incorrectly giving publication date as 1770). Cox I, p. 59n. Davidson, pp. 51-52 (“collectors tend to favor [this] edition in preference to the others”). Cf. Holmes 24. Printing & the Mind of Man 223: “Cook earned his place in history by opening up the Pacific to western civilization and by the foundation of British Australia. The world was given for the first time an essentially complete knowledge of the Pacific Ocean and Australia, and Cook proved once and for all that there was no great southern continent, as had always been believed. He also suggested the existence of Antarctic land in the southern ice ring, a fact which was not proved until the explorations of the nineteenth century.” Rosove 77.A3 (calling in error for 64 plates). Sabin 16245.

Third Voyage

COOK, James & James King. A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken, by the Command of His Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere. Performed under the Direction of Captains Cook, Clerke, and Gore, in His Majesty’s Ships the Resolution and Discovery; in the Years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, and 1780.... The Second Edition. London: Printed by H. Hughs for G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785. 4 vols. as follows:

Vol. I: [10], xcvi, 421 [1 blank] pp., 1 folding plate, 6 maps (4 folding).

Vol. II: [14], 548 pp., 4 folding plates, 5 maps (2 folding).

Vol. III: [12], [1, verso blank], 556 pp., 1 folding plate, 5 maps (1 folding), 1 folding table.

Total for text: 16 maps, 6 plates.

Atlas: 2 folding maps, 61 plates.

Total for Third Voyage: 87 copper-engraved leaves of plates.

     Second (and preferred) edition (first edition 1784). Bagnall 1399n. Beaglehole III, pp. cxcviii-cciv. Beddie 1552. Cox I, p. 63n. Davidson, pp. 52-53. Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 85. Hocken, pp. 23-24 (“This and the third are the best editions”). Holmes 47n. Howes C729a. Cf. Lada-Mocarski 37n. National Maritime Museum: Voyages 587. O’Reilly-Reitman 434. Sabin 16250. Strathern 126(ii). Wickersham 6557n.

Condition report for the set: 8 vols., 4to (text) and 3 vols., folio (atlases). The set is uniformly bound in full contemporary tree calf, spines elaborately tooled in gilt and with red and olive green morocco gilt-lettered spine labels. Some minor scuffing and shelf wear, a few joints starting but holding, a few closed tears and paper flaws. Overall a superb set, text and plates very fine and fresh in good, dark impressions. The set is to be preferred as it is found here, with the plates and maps bound in separate volumes, which avoids folding of many of the plates (some of which are mounted), allowing the plates to be enjoyed and studied optimally. Rarely found thus. Third voyage text and all atlases with engraved armorial bookplates of Alexander Speirs on pastedowns (provided in facsimile in the first and second text vols.; however all vols. have the same contemporary pressmark in ink manuscript on title pages). The Death of Cook plate is not present in the second voyage (as is often the case); it was issued and inserted after publication and is found in few copies.

     These official accounts of Cooks’ three voyages constitute a unique record of the most important series of Pacific explorations ever undertaken. Cook was the supreme navigator of the eighteenth century, and as Beaglehole notes: “There are statutes and inscriptions, but Geography and Navigation are his memorials” (Life of Captain James Cook, p. 713). Although Cook enjoyed a measure of confidence from the Admiralty, it was not until his first circumnavigation that he became famous and entrusted with even more such voyages. The first voyage, organized at the request of the Royal Society to observe the Transit of Venus at Tahiti, left in August, 1768, and returned in July, 1771, having accomplished all its objectives and made several additional discoveries. One important aspect of this account is its foreshadowing of Cook’s conclusion that the elusive Southern Continent did not exist. In more concrete terms, Cook was the first European to set foot in and to circumnavigate New Zealand and discovered Botany Bay.

     John Hawkesworth was entrusted to write the account, much to the disgruntlement of Alexander Dalrymple, who, along with others, viciously attacked his rival. Hawkesworth’s rendition of the voyage has been criticized because the reader was unable to distinguish between his voice and that of Cook. It is theorized that the Sturm und Drang caused by the attacks hastened his death. It was not until 1893 that Cook’s original journal was published and readers could see exactly what Cook wrote, as opposed to what Hawkesworth interpolated or provided.

     Cook’s second voyage was intended specifically to discover if the Southern Continent existed by sailing around the world as far south as possible. The expedition left England in July, 1772, and returned July, 1775, after again circumnavigating the earth. On this voyage, Cook proved definitively that there was no merit to the antipodean theory, and he and his crew became the first Europeans to sail below the Antarctic Circle. Cook also made other significant explorations of the Pacific before returning home, such as the discovery or re-discovery of Easter Island, the Tonga Islands, and Tahiti. One of the reasons this voyage is famous is that of the whole crew only a single man was lost, and scurvy was effectively prevented.

     Although the official narrative is generally by Cook and he was assigned to write it, John Douglas had a large hand in its completion. Again, this is another of the narratives that became embroiled in controversy. J. R. Forster, the naturalist on the voyage, believed he was delegated to write the work but could not come to terms with the Admiralty, who gave the assignment to Cook himself. Not to be outdone, Forster supposedly persuaded his son to write a version, and that publication preceded the official account, again setting off acrimonious literary debates.

     Having apparently settled the question of the Southern Continent on his second voyage, on the third voyage Cook was dispatched to the other end of the globe to search for the Northwest Passage. Leaving in July, 1776, the ships returned in October, 1780. Again, Cook was successful in his mission and the idea of such a passage was fairly laid to rest after the expedition returned. More important to modern readers, however, is the fact that Cook discovered Hawaii, thereby opening up another entire exotic civilization to European view. Regrettably, Cook lost his life in those islands, and Clerke, his successor, also lost his later in the voyage. The expedition returned under the command of King.

     Again, it fell to Douglas to prepare the official narrative for publication; King prepared his own narrative, which completes the work. Because of Cook’s death, European interest in this voyage was more intense than that shown in the previous voyages, and hyperbole would be too mild to quantify the horrified reaction to the news of his demise. For more on the third voyage, the most important of the voyages for Pacific Northwest, see Item 25 herein.

     Immediately after publication of this voyage, the wheels of publication commerce began to grind and have ground on ever since. Cook’s voyages have been in print continuously ever since in one form or the other.

     “Cook's three voyages form the basis for any collection of Pacific books” (Hill 358). The accumulated iconography contained in the three voyages gave Europe in many cases its first real depictions of Pacific cultures because Cook was the earliest explorer to make extensive use of professional artists to capture scenes, events, and people. When one considers that not all of the drawings were published, that some were not published until the twentieth century, and that many remain unpublished to this day, the breadth of his visual accomplishments becomes clear. Because Europeans eventually altered many of the civilizations and environments they encountered by such activities as proselytizing and introducing exotic species such as goats and rabbits, Cook’s depictions of civilizations encountered are crucial tranches de vie capturing their subjects at a time before they were altered or obliterated forever. (For more on the iconography of Cook’s voyages, see Joppien & Smith). Landforms, which tend to be permanent, are also captured for the first time in his works and many of his observations on geography and his maps remain correct to this day. Cf. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 696-699, 701.    

(11 vols.) ($30,000-60,000) 

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