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A Journal of a Voyage round the World in His Majesty's Ship Endeavour, in the years 1768, 1769, 1770 and 1771..
London: Becket & De Hondt, 1771. An excellent copy in an old binding.. Quarto, with the 2 pp. dedication to Banks and Solander; half brown morocco, marbled sides and endpapers. First edition of the earliest published account of Cook's first voyage to the Pacific: the rare first issue, with the leaf of dedication to 'The Right Honourable Lords of the Admiralty, and to Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander' inserted by the publisher to add authenticity, although it didn't succeed in winning either gentleman's favour. This was the first of a series of so-called "surreptitious accounts" of Cook's various voyages to appear in print: the Admiralty found it practically impossible to enforce their ruling that no unofficial publications should pre-empt the official and lengthier accounts of the voyages, naturally much slower in the press. In this case, however, legal action was taken against the publisher for using an unauthorised dedication, forcing removal of the leaf during publication. 'It is accordingly of the greatest rarity, and copies of the book containing the dedication are far more valuable than those without it...' (Davidson).Published anonymously some two months after their return, and nearly two years before Hawkesworth's official account, the American sailor James Magra (now more commonly "Matra") is the most likely author (Beaglehole, Journals, I, pp. cclvi-cclxiv). If Magra was indeed the author, his illicit sale of his journal to the publishers might well have confirmed Cook's opinion of him: 'one of those gentlemen, frequently found on board Kings Ships, that can very well be spared, or to speake more planer good for nothing...'. He was a New Yorker and a loyalist.Whatever his skipper and the authorities may have thought of him, it was Magra who got the first description of the voyage into print -- the earliest printed account of the east coast of Australia, published even before acceptance of the name Botany Bay, here called Sting-ray Bay as Cook originally christened it.The publication of the book has a further claim on our attention for, as Alan Frost has argued, Magra used his experiences on the east coast of Australia to draft his 1783 proposal for a penal colony at Botany Bay (never shy in self-promotion, Magra even announced his hope of being made Governor). His plan, like Sir Joseph Banks' before and George Young's after him, was shelved, but does appear to have been in the back of the minds of the planners of the First Fleet. Magra was even called as an expert witness to the committee in charge of solving the question of transportation (Alan Frost, James Mario Matra, pp. 113-122). Provenance: This copy has an interesting provenance. An early owner has left pencil and ink notes throughout, while the title-page has the stamp of the "Northern Protector of Aboriginals"; it is likely therefore that this copy belonged to the influential ethnographer and notable collector who held that office, Walter E. Roth. His administration of the post from 1898 to 1906 was marked for its sympathetic advocacy of Aboriginal rights. In this context the pencil notes which remark on various aspects of native behaviours, including New Zealand cannibalism, are especially interesting.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2018-02-07           Check availability:      Biblio    

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