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AUCTION 17

VOYAGES & TRAVELS
WITH AN EMPHASIS ON CAPTAIN COOK

Lot 24

French Zimmermann in Wrappers

“Valuable for his lower-deck impressions of the character of Cook”

24. [COOK’S THIRD VOYAGE]. ZIMMERMANN, Heinrich. Dernier Voyage du Capitaine Cook autour du Monde, où se Trouvent les Circonstances de sa Mort.... Berne: Nouvelle Société Typographique, 1783. xvi, 200 pp. 8vo, contemporary plain tan paper wrappers, untrimmed, stitched. Wrappers somewhat soiled and wrinkled and missing lower right blank corner from upper cover, small voids in upper blank margin of title page from ink corrosion (caused by contemporary ownership signature), very light waterstaining to outer margins of first few leaves. Otherwise, a very fine copy as issued. Preserved in a brown cloth clamshell case with gilt-lettered dark brown leather label.

     Second edition in French, a reprint of the first edition in French (Bern, 1782), with title and text reset. Zimmermann’s work is one of the rarest of all accounts of Cook's third voyage and, with Rickman's narrative, the earliest published account of the third voyage, the death of Cook, and the discovery of Hawaii. The first edition came out in German at Mannheim in 1781 (Lada-Mocarski 33). Beaglehole III, p. ccvi: “Valuable for his lower-deck impressions of the character of Cook.” Beddie 1630. Davidson, p. 66. Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 59. Cf. Hocken, p. 20. Holmes 44n: “Both French editions are of great rarity and are of interest not only on that account but because of the additional matter which they contain.” Howes Z14. Kroepelien 1364. Cf. Lada-Mocarski 33. O’Reilly-Reitman 424. Sabin 106436. Strathern 631(v)n. Not in Hill.

     Zimmermann’s original 1781 German-language work contains the first Cook biography and is exceedingly rare and valuable, almost impossible to obtain. It was suppressed in that country at the request of the British government, despite Zimmermann’s statement that he was merely a lowly seaman and his account was unlikely to compete with the official accounts that would appear. Unimpressed with his rationalization, the British government insisted that Zimmermann had violated its rules by withholding his journal. Undeterred and unintimidated--and basically beyond the reach of either British or German law--publishers in Switzerland had long had a reputation for publishing surreptitious or pirated editions of works that had appeared in other countries. Forming sometimes large combinations of publishers and printers, various “sociétés typographiques,” such as appear on the title page here, were instrumental in various cities such as Bern and Neufchâtel in publishing works basically unavailable elsewhere in Europe and flooding European markets with them.

     The editor here, who signs the dedication “Roland,” adds some footnotes and a life of Cook taken from the Göttingsches Magazin der Wissenschaften und Litteratur (1780), which makes this text of unusual interest (Holmes). Zimmermann, along with Ellis, Rickman, and Ledyard, provided the world with the early accounts of Cook’s third voyage, all preceding the official account by several years. The author was aboard the Discovery and records many details of events unrecorded by his fellow sailors or in the official reports. The accuracy of his recollections is sometimes questioned. ($7,000-14,000)

 

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