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Journal of the Resolution's Voyage, in 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775. On discovery to the southern hemisphere also a journal of the Adventure's voyage, in the years 1772, 1773, 1774. With an Account of the separation of the two ships, and the most remarkable incidents that befel each.
London: F. Newbery, 1775 - Octavo (210 x 123 mm) Contemporary tree calf, gilt ruled spine, red morocco label, yellow edges. Housed in a custom-made brown quarter calf solander box, marbled sides. Short split at head of spine, very light abrasions to spine. An excellent copy. Folding track-chart frontispiece and 5 engraved plates. First edition, a lovely copy with a striking provenance: from the library of the great African explorer James Bruce of Kinnaird (1730-1794), with his armorial bookplate, additional label ("From Kinnaird 1897") and his signature at the head of title page ("Kinnaird"). "Anxious to emulate the form of James Cook's Voyage to the Pacific Ocean (one of the best-selling travel books of the century), Bruce published his 3000-page Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in five quarto volumes in 1790. In conformity with eighteenth-century conventions of travel writing, it is an 'immethodical miscellany', ranging from striking adventure stories, reported dialogues, and Shandean asides boasting of his success with African women, through a pedantic history of ancient Ethiopia (which occupies most of the first two volumes), to vivid sketches of contemporary Abyssinian life, politics, and natural history. It was immensely successful, most of the original edition being sold to retail booksellers within thirty-two hours, and was rapidly translated into French and German [and] remains one of the great travel accounts of the eighteenth century" (ODNB). Having traced the source of the Blue Nile and travelled extensively in Abyssinia Bruce returned to London in 1774: "For a time he was, according to Fanny Burney, 'the Lyon of the Times' (Early Journals and Letters, 44), stealing the show from Captain Cook and Joseph Banks, the recently returned Pacific explorers. Horace Walpole wrote: 'There is just returned a Mr Bruce who has lived for three years in the court of Abyssinia, and breakfasted every morning with the maids of honour on live oxen. Otaheite and Mr Banks are quite forgotten'" (ibid.). "The first printed account of man's entry into the region south of the Antarctic circle" (Spence), the plates including the first published images of the region. This rare account of Cook's second voyage was "published 'anonymously and surreptitiously' eighteen months before Cook's official narrative. It records many incidents omitted by Cook, and gives the reasons which caused Sir Joseph Banks and his twelve assistants to withdraw from the expedition" (Hill). Marra, a native of Cork, was one of the gunner's mates on the Resolution, and was picked up by Cook at Batavia where he had deserted from the Schoonzigt, a Dutch East India Company vessel. He was later to attempt to desert from Resolution when she was at Tahiti, and was clapped in irons for his pains, despite the fact that Cook was remarkably relaxed about the incident, commenting that: "I know not if he might not have obtained my consent, if he had applied for it in the proper time". Marra's correspondence with Banks shows that he "was incapable of writing a consecutive account of anything" (Holmes), his contribution to the publication being extracts from his private journal which were then edited and elaborated by David Henry, printer, miscellaneous writer, and at the time sole publisher of the Gentleman's Magazine. Cook himself identified Marra as the author of this work in a letter to the Admiralty dated 18 September 1775. A superb copy, with a provenance that links two of the greatest names in the history of exploration – James Bruce and Captain Cook. "If Captain Cook was the first truly modern 'scientific' maritime explorer then James Bruce has some claim to be the first scientific continental explorer" (Jennifer Speake ed., Literature of Travel and Exploration, 2003, p. 130). Hill 1087; Holmes 16; Howgego I, C174; Sabin 16247; Spence 758. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2017-06-14           Check availability:      ZVAB    

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