COOK, James.

[The three voyages:]

HAWKESWORTH, John (ed.) 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; [Together with:] 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; [Together with:] A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken by the command of His Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere.

London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773-84 Stock Code: 141440
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Second and best edition of the first voyage, first edition of the second and third voyages. A highly desirable complete set of the official accounts of Cook's three Pacific voyages in the preferred editions and with an excellent provenance, the atlas folio volume containing an extra suite of "Admiralty" plates from the second voyage in superb early impressions on large paper, and with the rare stipple engraved portraits of Cook and King bound in as frontispieces to the third voyage.

Provenance: all volumes of the first and second voyages carry the armorial bookplate of William Tennant (1805-1848), Little Aston Hall (Staffordshire) and the unsigned armorial bookplate of the Wharton family. William Tennant died unmarried and the estate passed to his brother, Charles Edward Tennant, a commander in the Royal Navy; the Little Aston Hall library was sold off by Sotheby's in January of 1850. The volumes of the third voyage carry the same Wharton bookplate alone. Volume I of the second voyage is inscribed below the bookplate: "W. J. L. Wharton 1889" - this is the distinguished naval officer and hydrographer Sir William James Lloyd Wharton (1843-1905). "On 29 January 1880 Wharton was promoted captain, and in February 1882 was appointed to the Sylvia, in which he conducted surveys on the coast of South America, and especially in the Strait of Magellan. In 1882 he published his Hydrographical Surveying: a Description of the Methods Employed in Constructing Marine Charts, which at once became the standard textbook. In August 1884 he was appointed hydrographer of the navy in succession to Sir Frederick Evans, and held this post until August 1904, becoming the longest serving hydrographer after Sir Francis Beaufort" (ODNB). Wharton also produced an edition of Cook's journal (London 1893) that was the first "authoritative printed account of what Cook himself had to say about his first voyage" (NMM).

This set also includes the two fine stipple engraved portraits of Cook and Captain James King, by Francesco Bartolozzi after John Webber (Beddie 3596: Cook portrait). These were published separately in June 1784 and are rare. They are bound in as the frontispiece to volumes I and III of the third voyage.

The atlas folio volume is very interesting. It contains 102 plates: the 64 plates for the third voyage (their presence in a separate folio volume was intended) but it also includes 36 duplicate plates from the second voyage (the Hodges portrait of Cook, 18 portraits, 17 views, a list is available on request). These do not have the plate number in the lower right corner, are printed on heavy laid paper with very wide margins and are quite superbly inked, being rich impressions of these famous images. They carry either the imprint "Publish'd as the Act Directs" and dated 16 July 1776 or that of Strahan and Cadell and dated 1 February 1777. Beddie (1404-1407) lists four similar collections of plates (all in the Dixson Library in New South Wales); each fronted by the Hodges portrait of Cook and comprising between 35 and 63 plates. The plates with the imprint "Publish'd as the Act Directs" are early impressions, those that appear in the book itself have the Strahan and Cadell imprint. In addition, the plate of the "Ice Islands" has an incomplete working caption: "The Ice Islands, seen...". The second of the Dixson copies is reputed to be one of six sets prepared for persons connected with the Admiralty. Also present here are the famous Death of Captain Cook plate, by Bartolozzi after Webber (published 1 July 1785) in its final version; and an additional plate showing Cook's ship, the "Resolution", endangered by water spouts off the coast of New Zealand in May 1773. This appeared in French and Dutch editions (engraved by Bernard and Klauber respectively) and is here "before letters" - bearing neither a caption nor the names of engraver and artist. It did not appear in the London edition.

"Cook earned his place in history by opening up the Pacific to western civilisation and by the foundation of British Australia. The world was given for the first time an essentially complete knowledge of the Pacific Ocean and Australia, and Cook proved once and for all that there was no great southern continent, as had always been believed. He also suggested the existence of antarctic land in the southern ice ring, a fact which was not proved until the explorations of the nineteenth century. Cook was a brilliant navigator and hydrographer, an excellent administrator and planner, and probably the first sea captain to realise the importance 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" (PMM). The National Maritime Museum catalogue points out that the third voyage "was so eagerly awaited by the public that it was sold out on the third day after publication, and although the published price was 4 14s. 6d, as much as 10 guineas was offered by would-be purchasers".

An outstanding set with a most apposite provenance and a wonderful extra suite of plates.

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9 volumes: 8 quarto (300 x 247 mm) and one folio (570 x 395 mm). First voyage: contemporary speckled calf, spines gilt panelled and tooled on the raised bands, red and green morocco twin labels, yellow edges; second voyage: contemporary speckled calf, spines gilt panelled and tooled on the raised bands, tawny and green morocco twin labels, red speckled edges; third voyage: contemporary half russia, gilt banded spines, olive green and dark green twin labels, marbled sides; all volumes skilfully rebacked with the original spines laid down, folio volume refurbished.


With all plates, maps and plans as called for.


A few scrapes to bindings, first voyage volume I: small portion torn from lower blank margin at X2, volume II with closed-tear across plate at p. 264; second voyage volume I: folding map of the southern hemisphere torn at fold, closed-tear across lower blank margin of B1, volume II with old repair at fore-margin of D4; third voyage volume III: small portion torn from foot at 3P4; some occasional spotting, foxing and marginal staining.


Beddie 650, 1216, 1543; Hill 783, 358, 361; Howgego I C173-6; National Maritime Museum Catalogue, Voyages & Travel, 577, 586; Printing and the Mind of Man 223 (second voyage); Sabin 16245, 16250.


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