Voyage aux Iles de la Mer du Sud, en 1827 et 1828, et Rélation de la Découverte du Sort de La Pérouse. LA PEROUSE, Peter DILLON.
Voyage aux Iles de la Mer du Sud, en 1827 et 1828, et Rélation de la Découverte du Sort de La Pérouse.
Voyage aux Iles de la Mer du Sud, en 1827 et 1828, et Rélation de la Découverte du Sort de La Pérouse.

Voyage aux Iles de la Mer du Sud…
Voyage aux Iles de la Mer du Sud, en 1827 et 1828, et Rélation de la Découverte du Sort de La Pérouse.

Paris: Pillet, 1830.

Two volumes, octavo, three lithographic plates (two folding) and chart of the island of Mannicolo, unopened in original green printed wrappers, housed in folding cloth case.

A very appealing copy of the first French edition of the voyage which solved the riddle of La Pérouse, unopened in the original printed wrappers.

A very appealing copy of the first French edition of the voyage which solved the riddle of La Pérouse, unopened in the original printed wrappers.

Forty years after the disappearance of La Pérouse, Peter Dillon, a sandalwood trader, called at the Solomon Islands. When a silver sword guard was shown to him, he suspected that he might have accidentally discovered the solution of a mystery that had tormented the French for decades. At Vanikoro he found many relics including a portion of the stern of the Boussole, ships' bells stamped 'Bazin m'a fait', monogrammed silver, metal fragments and mill stones known to have been aboard. One islander (shown here on a folding plate) had a glass piece from a thermometer in his nose. In recognition of his discovery Dillon was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur, his expenses defrayed and he was granted a pension. His book was commercially successful, appearing in English and French editions promptly and eventually in a number of translations.

Aside from the startling discovery of the fate of La Pérouse, Dillon's narrative is a classic account of the south Pacific in the 1820s. Hocken describes the author as 'a splendid specimen of a wild Irishman and seaman' and his narrative reflects the excitement and dangers of a sole trader in the south Pacific during this era. It is rich in descriptions of Australia and New Zealand, where Dillon was active as a trader and entrepreneur for many years. The fine and dramatic plates are reproduced from the first English edition of 1829, and were prepared by Godefroy Englemann who developed the process of chromolithography.

Interestingly, the publisher Pillet also issued the official account of the Freycinet voyage, and that work is advertised here in the publisher's notice at the end of the second volume.

Davidson, 'A Book Collector's Notes', p. 107; Ferguson, 1336; Hill, 481; Hocken, p. 44; Kroepelien, 297; McLaren, 'Lapérouse in the Pacific', 73.

Price (AUD): $4,200.00  other currencies Ref: #3712668

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