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Lot 61

The True First

61. COOKE, Edward. [Vol. I, title page]: A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World, Perform’d in the Years 1708, 1709, 1710, and 1711. Containing a Journal of All Memorable Transactions during the said Voyage; the Winds, Currents, and Variation of the Compass; the Taking of the Towns of Puna and Guayaquil, and Several Prizes, one of Which a Rich Acapulco Ship. A Description of the American Coasts, from Tierra del Fuego in the South, to California in the North, (from the Coasting-Pilot, a Spanish Manuscript.).... Wherein an Account is Given of Mr. Alexander Selkirk, His Manner of Living and Taming Some Wild Beasts during the Four Years and Four Months He Liv’d upon the Uninhabited Island of Juan Fernandes. Illustrated with Cuts and Maps. [Vol. II, title page]: A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World, Perform’d in the Years 1708, 1709, 1710, and 1711. By the Ships Duke and Dutchess of Bristol. Being a Continuation of the Voyage from California, through India, and North about into England....

London: Printed by H. M. for B. Lintot and R. Gosling, A Bettesworth, and W. Innys, 1712. [24], 456, [12] pp., 4 maps (two of which are folding), 16 plates (one of which is folding) + [8] xxiv, 328 [8] pp., 5 maps (three of which are folding), 2 plates, 3 folding tables, text illustrations (geographical features). Total: 27 copper-engraved maps (including Vol. I. frontispiece folding map showing California as an island, A Map of the World Shewing the Course of Capt. Cooks (sic) Voyage Round the Same [lower center above neat line]: John Senex Sculpt.; and folding untitled map in Vol. II at p. 257 showing the southernmost tip of California, the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific coast from Granada to Sinaloa) and plates (flora, fauna, Natives, sailing vessels); 3 folding letterpress tables. 2 vols., 8vo, original panelled calf (expertly rebacked with period-style extra-gilt spines with red morocco gilt-lettered labels, raised bands, edges sprinkled, fresh endpapers of period laid paper). Bindings very similar in style but not exactly uniform. Text lightly darkened and with some moderate offsetting from plates to text (more pronounced in Vol. I). Page 75 has a small hole in blank margin. Generally a very good set, with engraved armorial bookplate of Salisbury Rug on Vol. 1 front pastedown, faint contemporary ink signature on title of Vol. II. Apparently, in Vol. II, E6, E7, F5, and Q1 are cancels because a partially shaved note in the margin of p. 74 reads: “Cancel the pages 59, 60, 61, 62, 73, 74, 225, and 226 and place these in their room.”

     First editions of both Vols. I and II (normally the work is found with second edition of Vol. I, and first edition of Vol. II). The rare first edition of this work, here present in Vol. I, was rushed into print to beat publication of Woodes Rogers’ own account (see Item 71 herein). After that was accomplished, the first volume was revised, set in new type (with only 432 pp.), and issued accompanied by the second volume here, which contains much significant and important material not present in the one-volume first edition. Although he was rushing his work to the press, it is clear that Cooke contemplated the second volume even then, for at one place he states that he will defer a description of Batavia “to our Second Part” (1: 450). Thus, Wagner would appear to be in error when he states that Vol, 2, although “of very great rarity... seems to have been an afterthought.”

     Barrett, Baja California 3290. Borba de Moraes I, p. 206. Cowan I, pp. 54-55. Cowan II, p. 141. Cox I, p. 45. European Americana 712/41 & 712/42. Hill I, p. 64. Hill II:372. Howes C733. JCB III:163. Kroepelien 224. Mathes, California Colonial Bibliography 30. National Maritime Museum: Voyages 99 & ...Piracy & Privateering 99. Sabin 16303. Streeter Sale 2428. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 499. Wagner, Spanish Southwest 77 (Wagner is in error when he states that pp. 109-328 in Vol. II are preceded by a separate title page; it is a sectional title only).

     Cooke was a fellow commander with Rogers on their famous cruising expedition to the Pacific to raid Spanish settlements and shipping, and his account is generally the preferred one because of the material included in the second volume. This work contains the first mention of Alexander Selkirk, who supposedly became the model for Robinson Crusoe (Vol. I, pp. 36-37), although the original description of him is much briefer and less insightful than that found in Rogers. Cooke revisits Selkirk in his Introduction to Vol. II (pp. xviii-xxiv) with a more extensive description of his life on Juan Fernandez, but also expresses his amazement that anyone would even care: “To hear of a Man’s living so long alone in a desert Island, seems to some very surprizing, and they presently conclude he may afford a very agreeable Relation of his Life, when in Reality it is the most barren Subject nature can afford.... From this Man something of another Nature is expected, his Piety is not likely to disgust us. What then can it be that flatters our Curiosity? Is he a natural Philosopher, who, by such an undisturb’d Retirement, could make any surprizing Discoveries? Nothing less, we have a downright Sailor, whose only Study was how to support himself, during his Confinement, and all his Conversation with Goats.... We shall therefore give the Reader as much as may satisfy a reasonable Curiosity, concerning this Man, without deviating into Invention” (pp. xviii-xix).

     The work is of considerable California interest. During their long sojourn at Cabo San Lucas both Cooke and Rogers made lengthy ethnographic, geographic, zoological, and botanical observations. Of the two, Cooke provided far more detailed descriptions, and when the first volume of his Voyage appeared, it contained the first printed depictions of California Native Americans and their housing and utensils, as well as those of numerous birds, sea life, and plants (Vol. I, pp. 319-327 and accompanying plates). The material added in Vol. II, however, was probably of far greater practical interest since it contained detailed sailing directions for the Pacific and was illustrated with dozens of woodcuts showing landforms. Despite having won the publication race, Cooke lost out in the end to his rival, whose account proved to be more literary and popular, going through subsequent editions in English and being translated into Dutch, French, and German. (2 vols.) ($5,000-10,000)

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