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Relation de Deux Voyages dans les Mers Australes & des Indes, faits en 1771, 1772, 1773 & 1774. Extrait du Journal de sa Navigation pour la découverte des Terres Australes.
Knapen & fils, Paris 1782 - Octavo, with a folding map; contemporary French mottled calf, spine gilt in compartments; a good copy. The only edition, and very rare: the bulk of the edition was suppressed by the French Government, supposedly because of the book's dedication "A la Patrie". This is an important account, by their commander, of two significant voyages which set out from France with the highest hopes. Kerguelen was instructed to find and report on the southern continent: French ambitions rested on the sixteenth-century reports by Paulmier de Gonneville of a land in the same latitude as the Cape of Good Hope on which he had wintered in 1504. The "Gonneville Land" mystery persisted for centuries: historians now believe that he had in fact been in South America.On his first voyage, Kerguelen found and charted instead the inhospitable Kerguelen Island, four years before Cook's visit there. His irresponsible reporting of the value of his discovery assured him of his second command, a circumnavigation with emphasis on scientific as well as geographical discovery - it ended in disaster, with Kerguelen dismissed from the service and imprisoned for six years as a result of a series of episodes at sea all of which demonstrated gross negligence.Kerguelen's two voyages finally proved to the French what Cook had already generally demonstrated - that the southern continent was a fiction - but more importantly, their disastrous result ensured that promotion in the French navy was henceforth based on merit rather than breeding. 'La Pérouse may not have been a well-connected courtier, but he was honest and capable: that he was given the opportunity to lead the most comprehensive French expedition of the eighteenth century was a direct result of the Kerguelen episode?' (J. Dunmore, French Explorers in the Pacific, p. 249; pp. 196-249 give a full history of Kerguelen and his significance in the history of French exploration). Joints of the binding neatly repaired. [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2016-11-27           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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