English Edition of Chappe d’Auteroche’s 1769 Transit of Venus

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88. CHAPPE D’AUTEROCHE, Jean. A Voyage to California, to Observe the Transit of Venus...With an Historical Description of the Author’s Route through Mexico, and the Natural History of that Province. Also a Voyage to Newfoundland and Sallee, to Make Experiments on Mr. Le Roy’s Time Keepers. By Monsieur De Cassini. London: Edward and Charles Dilly, 1778. [8], [1] 2-315 (i.e., 215) [1, blank] pp., folded copper-engraved map: Plan of the City of Mexico, neat line to neat line: 19.1 x 25.2 cm; overall sheet size: 20.3 x 30 cm. 8vo (21.3 x 13.5 cm), modern full speckled calf antique, spine with red leather label and raised bands. Fine condition, map excellent.

     First English edition (first edition, Paris, 1772, see preceding entry). Barrett 509. Cowan II, p. 114. Hill I, pp. 49-50. Hill II:279. Sabin 12004. Wagner, Spanish Southwest 158a.

     The translation from the French stops on p. 105. For more on Chappe d’Auteroche, see Dictionary of Scientific Biography (III, pp. 197-198): “The twin transits of Venus were the capstone of eighteenth-century observational activity, and Chappe shared in these great events, in the former through his participation in a Siberian winter expedition in 1761 and the latter through his participation to Southern California to observe the transit of Venus in 1769.”

     The remainder of the book is taken up with a voyage to Newfoundland, wherein there are interesting descriptions of the cod fisheries. The second part of the book describes experiments using a clock to determine longitude and the use of another device to determine the number of knots a ship is making (the experiment was a failure). In this edition, the map of Mexico City after José Antonio Alzate y Ramírez has been re-engraved on a smaller scale.


Sold. Hammer: $1,000.00; Price Realized: $1,225.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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