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Dernier Voyage du Capitaine Cook autour du monde, où se trouvent les circonstances de sa mort, publié en Allemand par Henri Zimmermann témoin oculaire, & traduit avec un abrégé de la vie de ce navigateur célèbre, & des notes
Berne: chez la nouvelle Société Typographique, 1782. Octavo; a very good, clean copy in contemporary French half calf. The first and best French edition of this important personal account of Cook's third voyage, and extremely scarce: a most attractive copy. Beddie records only the Mitchell and National Library copies in Australia. This edition contains, in addition to Zimmermann's narrative account, a life of Captain Cook adapted from material that had appeared in the Göttingisches Magazin, the work of either (or both) Georg Forster or Georg Lichtenberg.In any early edition, Zimmermann's first-hand narrative account of Cook's third voyage is one of the scarcest of all the Cook voyage accounts (there is for example no copy of any of the eighteenth-century editions in the Hill catalogue). First appearing in German in 1781, it was the first description of the third voyage to appear on the continent, and as one of two accounts first published a full three years before the official account it may well have been in fact the earliest full description of the voyage to be published. It includes an eye-witness account of Cook's death, and is also "valuable for his lower-deck impressions of the character of Cook…" (Beaglehole)."Zimmermann, a native of Speyer, was coxswain in the Discovery. From the start of the voyage he determined to keep a shorthand journal of the voyage and to retain it, despite the instructions… demanding the surrender of all logs and journals… His account is by no means free from errors, but it has an ingenuousness and charm which differentiate it from the other accounts. His appreciation of Cook's character deserves to rank with that of Samwell" (Holmes). Pp. 7 to 11 of this edition contain Zimmermann's long description of the Tasmanian Aborigines, with an interesting note in passing suggesting how many copies of the "Resolution and Adventure" medal, minted for distribution on the second voyage, were actually still available for distribution during the third voyage: on one day alone, Cook gave copies to eight or nine Aborigines, "which had such a good effect that the next day 49 more came to visit… some of whom received the same presents as their earlier compatriots, but none of whom was willing to come aboard the ships…".Second German and French editions followed in 1783. "Both French editions are of great rarity and are of interest not only on that account but because of the additional matter which they contain…" (Holmes). Then followed Dutch editions in 1784 and 1791, and a Russian version was published at St. Petersburg in 1786. These seem to have been all the appearances of the narrative until 1926, when the first version in English was published. As Rodney Davidson wrote of the early printings, "all these editions are exceedingly rare… It is hard to predict the realisation price for a copy if one were to come into the open market, as competition between collectors would be very keen…".
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2016-10-13           Check availability:      Biblio    


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