BOURDÉ [DE VILLEHUET, Jacques].
Manuel des Marins, ou Explication des Termes de Marine.
First edition. Born in St. Malo in 1732, Bourdé spent his entire career in the employ of the Compagnie des Indes based at Lorient. His reputation was made by the publication in 1765 of Le Manoeuvrier, which he had submitted for the approbation of the Academie des Sciences. An English translation was published in 1788 and Bourdé joined Hoste and Bigot de Morogues as French naval theoreticians who became highly influential on both sides of the channel. In the present work he attempts the definition of terms currently in use at sea, on the basis of the principle that from words “we are led to an understanding of all the rest.” Authors of other marine dictionaries lack experience at sea, and simply cannot define that which they do not understand without error, mistaking one thing for another, and stuffing their works with false explanations. He will attempt to write as simply, but as precisely as possible, in the “langage ordinaire des Marins,” making his dictionary useful not just to seamen, but also to merchants, politicians, and “on qui fréquentent les Ports du Royaume.” Uncommon, COPAC shows just two copies of the 1799 revised edition in Britain, nine copies on OCLC, eight of them in the USA.
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2 volumes, octavo (200 124 mm). Contemporary mottled sheep trade binding, title gilt direct to spine, floral and arabesque devices in compartments formed by a foliate roll between rules, edges marbled. Headpieces. Light browning, binding worn at the corners, headcaps chipped, but remains very good and attractive.