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A Discourse upon some Late Improvements in the Health of Mariners
London,: Royal Society,, 1776.. London,: Royal Society,, 1776.. Small quarto, [iv], 44 pp., with the half-title; leaf C4 a cancel as usual; a fine copy, bound with various other works, in contemporary vellum. Extremely rare: one of the most significant of all the printed works to do with Cook's voyages and their importance. This is the first appearance in print of Cook's epoch-making account of the successful measures taken against scurvy on his first two voyages. There were several later versions and translations, but the original edition of this seminal publication has long been acknowledged as a milestone rarity.The paper on scurvy was read to the Royal Society by its president, Sir John Pringle - in the absence of Cook himself, then just beginning his final voyage - as the year's Copley medal award, and immediately published in this form. Pringle's long presentation address, quoting directly from Cook and other sources, is followed by Cook's paper itself and an extract from a letter by Cook to Pringle written from Plymouth Sound in July 1776.This copy is in its original eighteenth-century binding, very appropriately accompanied by five other of Pringle's discourses on the recipients of the Copley medal from the Royal Society. This is the first appearance of this paper, which subsequently appeared in the official account of the second voyage and in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. In 1783 the series of Pringle's six discourses at the annual presentations of the Copley medal was published as a single octavo volume.The winning of the battle against scurvy was one of the most important achievements in the general field of exploration; it made the major voyages that followed possible. As Robert Hughes has so well put it in The Fatal Shore: 'malt juice and pickled cabbage put Europeans in Australia as microchip circuitry would put Americans on the moon'.With the bookplate of N. Vansittart.Beddie, 1290; Holmes, 20; Kroepelien, 1065.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-02-07           Check availability:      Biblio    

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