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Tagebuch einer Entdekkungs Reise nach der Südsee in den Jahren 1776 bis 1780 unter Anführung der Capitains Cook, Clerke, Gore und King.
Haude und Spener, Berlin 1781 - Octavo, with a frontispiece and a folding map; contemporary half calf over speckled paper boards, morocco spine label. A particularly important and early third voyage piece: the first publication of Johann Forster's German edition of Rickman's Journal of Captain Cook's last voyage, the surreptitious account of the voyage which had appeared in an English edition earlier the same year. Forster contributed an important introduction to the edition, including a discussion of Cook's character and how it led to his death in Hawaii, which is quite different to the almost universal heroic adulation of his contemporaries. This alternative and more questioning perspective is all the more pertinent since Forster had sailed as senior naturalist on Cook's second voyage and therefore wrote with the benefit of personal knowledge of Cook and first-hand experience of Pacific voyaging.Forster 'was vitally interested in the results of Cook's third voyage and particularly in communicating some of these results to an eager German public? Early in 1781 John Rickman, a lieutenant on the third voyage, anonymously rushed out his Journal? and one of Forster's well placed correspondents immediately sent off a copy to Halle, together with any supporting gossip he could glean? In publishing Tagebuch? Forster took the opportunity to announce for the first time in Germany his own plans for further papers on the natural history of the voyages [and attacked] some of his English 'enemies'. Banks, Solander, Forster and his son, we are informed, had really been civilising influences upon James Cook during the first two voyages; their presence had prevented Cook from being too harsh with the South Sea islanders. The absence of educated, scientific gentlemen on the third voyage had, in Forster's opinion, led to the tragedy of Cook's death on Hawaii. Even before the third voyage Cook, "a cross-grained fellow who sometimes showed a mean disposition and was carried away by a hasty temper", had developed an "overbearing attitude?, the result of having his head turned by Lord Sandwich"?' (Hoare, The Tactless Philosopher: Johann Reinhold Forster, p. 237).Besides his introduction, Forster included a substantially revised version of Rickman's map (he dismisses the original as simply a copy of the chart issued in the London Magazine for July and December 1780), and many footnotes to the text - "a quite valuable? contribution to the ethnology, geography and natural history of the Pacific" (Hoare, p. 238). Some of these notes are bitterly critical of British policies, while one attacks the campaign of the geographer, A.F. Büsching, to rename the Bering Straits as 'Cook Straits', Forster arguing that Cook Strait in New Zealand was sufficient testimonial to Cook's navigational ability and that Bering was entitled to priority in naming the straits between America and Asia.This is a relatively uncommon title: Forbes, for example, could list only eight copies, of which two are incomplete. Paper a little browned, neat early ownership's signature to title-page, bookplates; contemporary half calf over speckled paper boards, morocco spine label, a little worn at extremities and the front hinge starting but firm, a handsome copy. [Attributes: Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2015-11-20           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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