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Voyage de Dentrecasteaux, envoyé à la Recherche de La Pérouse. Publié par ordre de sa Majesté l'Empereur et Roi. Rédigé par M. de Rossel, ancienne capitaine de vaisseau
de l'Imprimerie Imperiale, Paris 1808 - Two volumes, quarto, with 32 folding engraved plates in volume I, and an Atlas, imperial folio, containing 39 charts and maps (29 double folding); original mottled boards, entirely uncut and with very generous margins; a few light stains in the text, some slight rubbing to bindings and wear to joints, inner hinges weak, spine of atlas renewed; but an outstanding copy in its original binding, boxed. The commander's account of the voyage in search of La Perouse. First edition: the official commander's account of the search for La Pérouse, published posthumously. The twelve magnificent maps of Western Australia and Tasmania in the fine Atlas record much of these coasts accurately for the first time and are among the most significant ever made. Of prime importance to Tasmania, it was d'Entrecasteaux's explorations of 1792 and 1793 which focused attention on the Derwent River area (now Hobart) as a suitable place for settlement.No news of La Pérouse had been received for several years by the time this voyage was equipped. It was the 1791 intervention of Delattre and the Société d'Histoire Naturelle which finally forced the hand of the National Assembly and led to d'Entrecasteaux's appointment. As a result, d'Entrecasteaux was given command of the Recherche and the Espérance, and sent to the Pacific the same year. No trace of La Pérouse was found, although the expedition sailed close by Vanikoro where it is possible that La Pérouse expedition survivors may have remained even at that time.The voyage did however have other purposes, their official orders having specified that they take scientists and artists and that they explore the coasts of Western Australia, Tasmania and the Gulf of Carpentaria, as well as New Caledonia, the Solomons, and north-east New Guinea. They did indeed make substantial geographical and scientific discoveries, particularly in Tasmania and along the west and southwest coasts of Australia - during the stop at Recherche Bay alone in mid-1792 they collected some 5000 botanical specimens and at the end of the year they headed for south-western New Holland discovering Esperance Bay. They also made important visits to New Caledonia, Tonga and the Santa Cruz Islands.The expedition was marred by illness, and d'Entrecasteaux himself was one of many to die during the voyage. It was the long-reaching effect of the French Revolution, however, that ultimately split the expedition in half. After reaching Java, the acting commander and ardent royalist D'Auribeau put himself under the protection of the Dutch authorities, while the Republicans among the officers and crew were imprisoned. On their eventual release, the prisoners were again taken and held by the British navy. Ultimately it was Sir Joseph Banks himself who ordered that the expedition's journals, charts and natural history specimens be returned under a flag of truce. It was the journal of the Republican Labillardière, the expedition's doctor and botanist, that was first published.This is an excellent copy of a very scarce voyage account, of great relevance to Australia and the Pacific; the Atlas volume is in its correct first edition form, with the charts all present in their original issues. Copies are sometimes found with later issues. [Attributes: First Edition; Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2015-06-17           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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