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A Voyage round the World, performed in the years 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, by the Boussole and Astolabe, under the command of J.F.G. de la Pérouse: published by order of the National Assemby, under the superintendence of L.A. Milet-Mureau . Translated from the French . [With:] Charts and Plates to La Pérouse's Voyage
for G.G. & J. Robinson, London 1799 - 3 volumes (text: 2 vols., quarto [11 3/4 x 9 1/4 inches]; atlas: 1 vol., folio (17 1/4 x 11 3/8 inches]). Text: 1p. errata in the rear of volume II, engraved portrait frontispiece of La Pérouse by Heath. Atlas: 2pp. letterpress List of the Charts and Plates, otherwise engraved throughout, allegorical title-page by Heath after J. M. Moreau, 69 engraved plates and maps (38 plates, 1 large folding map, hand-coloured in outline, 30 maps [20 double-page, 22 hand coloured in outline]). Atlas uncut. Expertly bound to style in half calf over early marbled paper covered boards, flat spines divided into compartments with a repeat decoration in gilt, red and black morocco lettering piece The rare first complete edition in English of one "of the finest narratives of maritime exploration ever written" (Howell): complete with the large folding map often wanting. "La Pérouse's expedition was one of the most important scientific explorations ever undertaken to the Pacific and the west coast of North America . The charge to the expedition [which took place between 1785 and 1788] was to examine such parts of the region as had not been explored by Captain Cook; to seek for an interoceanic passage; to make scientific observations on the various countries, peoples, and products; to obtain reliable information about the fur trade and the extent of Spanish settlements in California; and to promote the inducements for French enterprise in that quarter . La Pérouse and his men did important geographical research . The voyage also included the first foreign scientific group ever to visit Alta California [two of the plates depict a bee-eater and a male and female partridge of California. There are also maps and plans of San Francisco, Monterery, and San Diego] . La Pérouse sent dispatches back to France from Kamchatka and Botany Bay. The two ships then set sail from Botany Bay, in 1788, and were never heard from again" (Hill). It was not until the 1820s that the wrecks of his ships were discovered on a reef in the Santa Cruz group. Amongst the most significant results of the voyage are the series of charts that were produced as a result of the expedition's surveys of Asiatic side of the Pacific; and the ethnographic details of "the peculiarities [La Pérouse] . observed in the natives of the northwest coast of North America" (Sabin). In addition, he was the first westerner to safely navigate and chart the Japan Sea and the strait between the island of Sakhalin and the northernmost island of Japan. En route for Australia in 1788, La Pérouse sailed via Samoa where he discovered the islands of Apolima, Manono and Savaii. The journal of the expedition was first published in Paris in 1797. In 1798, two rival editions in English, both separate translations from the French, were published in London by Johnson and Stockdale. The following year Robinson would publish the present best edition, with the complete unabridged text and separate folio atlas with the full complement of maps and plates. This first edition in English which was the first translation to include the complete text, "is usually considered to be the best one in English, and is now an extremely rare work" (Hill). Cowan p.383; Ferguson 288; Hill 975; Howes L93, 'b'; Lada-Mocarski 52; Sabin 38962; TPL 596; Wagner Cartography of the Northwest Coast 837-848, pp.199-201; Zamorano 49. [Attributes: First Edition; Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Donald A. Heald Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2015-11-18           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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