Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes. Contenant ce que l'on scait des mœurs & des productions des Contrées découvertes jusqu'à ce jour; & où il est traité de l'utilité d'y faire de plus amples découvertes, & des moyens d'y former un établissement. Charles de BROSSES.
Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes. Contenant ce que l'on scait des mœurs & des productions des Contrées découvertes jusqu'à ce jour; & où il est traité de l'utilité d'y faire de plus amples découvertes, & des moyens d'y former un établissement.
Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes. Contenant ce que l'on scait des mœurs & des productions des Contrées découvertes jusqu'à ce jour; & où il est traité de l'utilité d'y faire de plus amples découvertes, & des moyens d'y former un établissement.

Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes.
Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes. Contenant ce que l'on scait des mœurs & des productions des Contrées découvertes jusqu'à ce jour; & où il est traité de l'utilité d'y faire de plus amples découvertes, & des moyens d'y former un établissement.

Paris: chez Durand, 1756.

Two volumes, quarto, with seven folding maps, complete with errata leaves, and with the additional series of asterisked leaves (volume I, pp. 437*-450*); contemporary French mottled calf, spines gilt in compartments between raised bands, double red & green labels, red edges, marbled endpapers; bookplates.

The great French study of the South Seas

A superb copy of this important work, on large paper and in a contemporary handsome French binding. This especially large copy measures 285 x 210 mm, with extremely generous margins, and probably represents a deliberate issue on Large Paper: we have not handled a copy of this size before. Interestingly, the four leaves consisting of pages 401-408 have been made up to size from an example of the regular issue by extending their margins to match: they illustrate the substantial difference between the size of a regular copy and this special version. They clearly date from the time of the binding in the mid-eighteenth century and the original colouring to the edges matches precisely.

A superb copy of this important work, on large paper and in a contemporary handsome French binding. This especially large copy measures 285 x 210 mm, with extremely generous margins, and probably represents a deliberate issue on Large Paper: we have not handled a copy of this size before. Interestingly, the four leaves consisting of pages 401-408 have been made up to size from an example of the regular issue by extending their margins to match: they illustrate the substantial difference between the size of a regular copy and this special version. They clearly date from the time of the binding in the mid-eighteenth century and the original colouring to the edges matches precisely.
De Brosses' book is one of the most important general works dealing with early voyages to the Pacific, which aimed to stimulate French discovery and colonisation of the South Seas. It contains an account of all voyages to the south, beginning with the second Vespucci expedition of 1502 and going up to 1747, including the voyages of Magellan, Drake, Schouten, Tasman and others. Edward Gibbon applauded the care and 'singular diligence' of de Brosses as an editor, and the text was later silently used as the basis for Callander's highly influential Terra Australis Cognita of 1766-8 (in this form it had much to do with British plans for colonial expansion by transportation).
'Extremely important. Here de Brosses suggests that France should colonise Australia, virtually predicting the basis of its final settlement by maintaining that the colonisation should be by France's 'foundlings, beggars and criminals'. This is somewhat scarce, but with patience copies can still be obtained', wrote Rodney Davidson in 1970; the book is nowadays actually quite rare on the market. This copy is complete with the additional "asterisk leaves", so-called because they are numbered 437*-450*: containing an article "Sur les découvertes des Hollandais dans l'Australasie", with details of the discoveries of the Dutch in Australasia, they are not always present. The maps include those of Australia, New Guinea, and northeastern Australia which make the book particularly significant'
This 'extremely important and thorough collection of voyages [is] one of the outstanding works relating to the early history of Australasia...' (Hill).

Davidson, 'A Book Collector's Notes', pp. 34-5; Hill, 190; Kroepelien, 132; O'Reilly-Reitman, 93.

Price (AUD): $22,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #4006848

Condition Report