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(COOK, James.)

Complete set of the three voyages....

[And:] KIPPIS, Andrew. The Life of Captain James Cook.

Availability: In stock

Published: London W. Strahan and T. Cadell [and others], 1773-88

Stock Code: 100989

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First edition of the second voyage, second and best editions of the first voyage and third voyages; first edition of Kippis's biography of Cook. The charts and plates of the separate atlas to the third voyage have been bound into the text volumes, and all are present..
i) HAWKESWORTH, John. An Account of the Voyages undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere. (London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773).
"Second and best edition, generally preferred to the first as it is complete with the chart of the Straits of Magellan and the List of Plates (missing in many copies of the first edition and contains some extra material in the form of a new preface in which Hawkesworth replies to the charges of poor editing made against him by Dalrymple" (Parks).
Cook's first voyage was arranged to observe "the transit of Venus across the face of the sun, which would enable the distance between the earth and the sun to be calculated" (ODNB). The expedition lasted between 30 July 1768 and 12 June 1771, during which time Cook carried out running surveys of the New Zealand coast and of the east coast of Australia, the latter resulted in his discovery of Botany Bay, which was to have a significant effect on the history of that continent.
ii) COOK, James. A Voyage towards the South Pole, and Round the World. Performed in His Majesty's Ships the Resolution and Adventure, in the Years 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775. (London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1777).
First edition of Cook's historically most important voyage, conducted in search of the great "Terra Australis". The ships went east via the Cape of Good Hope and in three separate approaches completely circumnavigated Antarctica, also making the first recorded crossing of the Antarctic Circle. "Further visits were made to New Zealand, and on two great sweeps Cook made an astonishing series of discoveries and rediscoveries including Easter Island, the Marquesas, Tahiti and the Society Islands, Nieu, the Tonga Islands, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, and a number of smaller islands. Rounding Cape Horn Cook discovered and charted South Georgia, after which he called at Cape Town, St Helena and Ascencion, and the Azores" (Hill). In addition to the geographical, botanical and cultural discoveries of the voyage, Cook also deals with the organisational problems of an expedition on such a large scale: he was "probably the first sea captain to realize the important of preserving the health and well-being of his crew. He did everything possible to maintain their physical fitness and the cleanliness of both men and ships. He conquered the hitherto prevalent scurvy by cutting down the consumption of salt meat and by always having fresh vegetables and fruit on board On his second voyage, of 112 men on board the Resolution, which he commanded, Cook lost only one by disease and that not scurvy a unique achievement in his time" (PMM). Cook's account is also noted for its illustrations, "of very high artistic quality" (Rosove), and mostly after drawings and paintings by young artist William Hodges (1744-1797).
iii) COOK, James, & James King. A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean (London: G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785).
Second and best edition of Cook's fatal third voyage, an attempt to find a north-west passage, during which he discovered Oahu and Kauai at the western end of the Hawaiian Islands, and, more importantly, "depicted accurately for the first time the north-west coast of America, leaving no major discoveries for his successors. The scientific discoveries in the fields of natural history and ethnology were considerable and the drawings made by the artists were of great significance. There are numerous statues and monuments to Cook in many parts of the world but the best memorial to him is the present-day map of the Pacific, which he did so much to shape" (ODNB). The second edition has long been preferred: the title pages are enhanced by the addition of the medallic "vignettes" of Cook's Royal Society medal, and a portrait medal of Captain King; and the text was entirely reset, Forbes pointing out that it was always considered "typographically superior". Thirty-five years after publication, Cook's widow sent a copy to her doctor with an inscription noting that "the letter press of the second edition is much superior to the first both in paper & letter press," King George III's copy, held at the British Library, was also a second edition.
iv) KIPPIS, Andrew. The Life of Captain James Cook (London: G. Nicol and G. G. J and J. Robinson, 1788).
First edition of the "first English biography of Cook intended to give a well-balanced account of his life from birth to death, including his family and early years, and the capacities in which he was engaged prior to the famous voyages The Newfoundland and Labrador surveys are discussed, and the three voyages are dealt with in great narrative depth" (Hill).
"Captain Cook's three great voyages form the basis for any collection of Pacific books. In three voyages Cook did more to clarify the geographical knowledge of the southern hemisphere than all his predecessors together had done. He was the first really scientific navigator and his voyages made great contributions to many fields of knowledge" (Hill 358).

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4 works in 9 volumes, quarto (286 x 226 mm). The voyages in contemporary tree calf, expertly rebacked to style with richly gilt spines incorporating black and red morocco onlays, gilt Greek-key border to sides, corners restored, marbled endpapers; Kippis in recent mottled half sheep to style, richly gilt spine to match the voyages, marbled sides.


All charts, plates and portraits as called-for in all volumes.


From the library of the American Democratic Party politician William Freeman Vilas (1840-1908), successively Postmaster General and Secretary of the Interior, with his armorial bookplate in each volume. Voyages: extremities lightly rubbed, sides variably scuffed, craquelure along joints from reback, some general browning, scattered foxing, a few double-page folding charts with short tears along central folds, often sometime repaired verso, hole to Straits of Magellan map in volume 1 skilfully repaired and not affecting image, short closed tear to top edge of Pacific Ocean vol. 3 title sometime repaired. Kippis: similar light spotting and browning, restoration to upper inner corner of half-title, small marginal hole to the foxed frontispiece portrait and ink-stamp of South Shields Public Library to margin of a few leaves, not affecting text. A good complete set.


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