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VOYAGE TOWARDS THE SOUTH POLE, AND ROUND THE WORLD. Performed in His Majesty’s Ships the Resolution and Adventure, in the Years 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775. In Which is Included, Captain Furneaux’s Narrative of his Proceedings in the Adventure During the Separation of the Ships
London: For W. Strahan, 1777. 2 volumes. First edition. Vol II contains the Letter from John Ibbetson and A Discourse Upon Some Late Improvements of the Means of Preserving the Health of Mariners, both to rear. Illustrated with a profusion of engraved maps, charts, portraits and illustrative plates, many folding. 4to, bound in contemporary diced calf, double gilt ruled borders with gilt ornamental corner pieces, inner gilt floral design to the covers, repeated in blind, sometime expertly and sypathetically restored at the backs, spines with raised bands tooled in gilt and blind, gilt device in four compartments and contrasting red and black-green morocco labels in two, gilt lettered, marbled endleaves, page edges speckled. xl + 378; (8) + 396 pp.; 50 finely engraved copperplates (26 are folding or double-page) & 14 maps & charts (6 of which are folding or double-page), 1 folding letterpress table. A beautiful and striking set, crisp and clean and finely bound to taste. Internally a very fine copy with good wide margins to the text and plates, no cropping of imprints. ONE OF THE GREAT BOOKS BY CAPTAIN JAMES COOK AND an extremely important and scarce work on Polar exploration and a cornerstone work in the voyage oeuvre. The first recorded mission to the Antarctic region and the first crossing of the Antarctic Circle. Prior to Cook, virtually nothing was known about the great area of space called the Antarctic region. Since Magellan returned from rounding Cape Horn in 1520 there had been wide spread belief that a large continent may be present over the South Pole. Many went so far as to believe that this continent may even be inhabited and perhaps warm and lush due to the volcanic activity Magellan observed at Tierra del Fuego. These theories and speculations would persist for over two centuries with virtually no additional evidence to support or rebute them. Cook, setting off in 1773, went expressly with the idea of finding out the truth about the regions round the South Pole, still spoken of vaguely as "Terra Incognito”. New Holland (Australia) was itself once believed to be part of this great shadowy continent, but Cook's earlier voyage (1768-1771) had definitely proved that New Holland did not form part of some still larger expanse of land. Captain Cook took with him two small ships, the ‘Resolution’ and the ‘Adventure’, and in addition to the crews he took men interested in science and natural history, so that every kind of observation might be made. Cook steered steadily south, and on January 17, 1773, he crossed the Antarctic Circle, thus sailing where man had never before ventured. Long before this he had encountered ice, for, although latitude 66.5° south is taken as the border line of the Antarctic Circle, Polar conditions are met with long before the actual Antarctic Circle is reached. Having crossed the Antarctic Circle in January 1773 (summer-time in those latitudes)' Cook decided that the conditions and surroundings made it unwise to risk staying there in colder weather. He therefore withdrew for a time, and continued his wide, sweeping survey in the direction of New Zealand. In December 1773 he returned to the Antarctic Circle to find the ice so difficult that he had again to retire for a few weeks. But in the next month—January 1774—he came back again, and this time he succeeded in forcing his way as far south as 71° 10’. From here, being a man of intelligence and duty, he determined to return home. As far as his eye could range he saw nothing but ice-fields. There was no sign of vegetation, no animal life; the cliffs were smooth and inaccessible; and, in any case, a landing could apparently afford no benefit. He records: “I will not say it was impossible anywhere to get farther to the south; but the attempting it would have been a dangerous and rash enterprise, and what I believe no man in my situation would have thought of. I, who had ambition not only to go farther than anyone had been before, but as far as it was possible for man to go, was not sorry at meeting with this interruption [of solid ice]. Since therefore, we could not proceed one inch farther to the south, no other reason need be assigned for my tacking and standing to the north.” Later he records the impression left on his mind by those southern snows, which is memorable not only in itself but as the very first account of a region never before visited by man. “Thick fogs, snowstorms, intense cold, and every other thing that can render navigation dangerous must be encountered; and these difficulties are greatly heightened by the inexpressibly horrid aspect of the country; a country doomed by nature never once to feel the warmth of the sun's rays, but to lie buried in everlasting snow and ice.” And so, having reached 71° 10' S., and having seen sights never before seen by man, Cook's vessels laboriously sailed out of the Antarctic Circle, an area to which no explorer would return to for more than forty years. By the end of July 1775 Cook's expedition was back in England, after an absence of rather more than three years. In this long time only four men out of a company of 191 had died, and of these only one had succumbed to disease. Captain Cook was not only a superb navigator, but understand the laws of good health as well as the laws of good seamanship. Other voyagers followed Cook in the South Polar region, and have of course far exceeded the boundaries set by him, but to Cook belongs the glory of being the first to adventure there. He established conclusively that the fabled southern continent of volcanic warmth and habitation had no existence and he had pushed back the boundaries of the South Polar Continent almost to their real position. He returned nevertheless convinced, from dredged material and from evidence other than the actual sight of land, that a great continent really had its existence around the Pole. This, the official account of the second voyage, was written by Captain Cook himself, and was the only account that Cook ever wrote himself. It was on this voyage that the continent of Antarctica was first outlined. The account also contains extensive material on New Zealand, the Friendly Islands, Easter Island and the Society Islands.
      [Bookseller: Buddenbrooks, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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