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An Account of the Voyages undertaken by the order of his Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere,
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Other Items by Cook, James

  • 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 Carteret and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour Cook, James 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 Carteret and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour 1773-84
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(COOK, James.) 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 Carteret, and Captain Cook, In the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour: Drawn up from the Journals which were kept by the several Commanders, and from the Papers of Joseph Bankes, Esq. ...

Published: London: Printed for A. Strahan, and T. Cadell, 1773

Stock code: 87127

Price: £9,750

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First edition of the official account of Cook’s first voyage, together with previous exploratory expeditions under Byron, Carteret and Wallis, compiled by John Hawkesworth. The primary purpose of Cook’s voyage in Endeavour was the observation of the transit of Venus from Tahiti, and then to continue the enterprise of geographical investigation begun by Byron. This was to result in the discovery of the Society Islands, the circumnavigation of New Zealand, and the charting of the eastern coast of Australia. “Hawkesworth , an eminent London author, was chosen by Lord Sandwich and commissioned by the Admiralty to prepare these narratives for publication … [He] was expected to add polish to the rough narratives of sea men, and to present the accounts in a style befitting the status of the voyages as official government expeditions, intended to embellish England’s prestige as a maritime power.” Although the book was a huge success, fast becoming a best-seller, it was disastrous for its editor: “He was publicly attacked on three different counts: by the captains for tampering with the texts of their journals, by prudish readers for reprinting descriptions of the sexual freedoms of the South Sea islanders, and by devout churchmen for impiety in the general introduction to the work, in which Hawkesworth had rashly challenged the doctrine of providential intervention. He was devastated by this critical barrage, and it was thought to be the main cause of his death. The rumour recorded by Malone that he killed himself with an overdose of opium is uncorroborated, but Fanny Burney’s conviction that his health was destroyed by the vilification he suffered seems well founded” (ODNB). A handsome and appealing set.

3 volumes, quarto (294 228 mm). Contemporary sprinkled calf, red morocco labels, spines direct-numbered gilt, raised bands. 52 maps, charts and plates in all, 41 of them folding. Joints partly cracked but still very firm, spine ends a little chipped and corners rubbed, occasional light spotting and the odd stain, but a very good, wide-margined and crisp copy.

Bibliography: Hill 782; Howgego I, C173; Sabin 30934.

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