A Journal of a Voyage round the World in His Majesty's Ship Endeavour, in the years 1768, 1769, 1770 and 1771; Undertaken in Pursuit of Natural Knowledge, at the Desire of the Royal Society: containing All the various Occurrences of the Voyage, with Descriptions of several new discovered Countries in the Southern Hemisphere; and Accounts of their Soil and Productions; and of many Singularities in the Structure, Apparel, Customs, Manners, Policy, Manufactures, &c. of their Inhabitants. COOK: FIRST VOYAGE, James Mario MAGRA, attributed, late MATRA.
A Journal of a Voyage round the World in His Majesty's Ship Endeavour, in the years 1768, 1769, 1770 and 1771; Undertaken in Pursuit of Natural Knowledge, at the Desire of the Royal Society: containing All the various Occurrences of the Voyage, with Descriptions of several new discovered Countries in the Southern Hemisphere; and Accounts of their Soil and Productions; and of many Singularities in the Structure, Apparel, Customs, Manners, Policy, Manufactures, &c. of their Inhabitants.

A Journal of a Voyage round the World…
A Journal of a Voyage round the World in His Majesty's Ship Endeavour, in the years 1768, 1769, 1770 and 1771; Undertaken in Pursuit of Natural Knowledge, at the Desire of the Royal Society: containing All the various Occurrences of the Voyage, with Descriptions of several new discovered Countries in the Southern Hemisphere; and Accounts of their Soil and Productions; and of many Singularities in the Structure, Apparel, Customs, Manners, Policy, Manufactures, &c. of their Inhabitants.

London: Becket and De Hondt, 1771.

Quarto; trimmed fairly closely to the text block; contemporary half calf and speckled boards, with the royal cipher of King George III in gilt on both covers.

Earliest account of the Endeavour voyage: from the library of George III

First edition of the earliest published account of Cook's first voyage to the Pacific and the discovery of the east coast of Australia: the rare first issue, with the leaf of dedication to 'The Right Honourable Lords of the Admiralty, and to Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander' inserted by the publisher to add authenticity. The binding is unusual in that the binder has taken advantage of the small text block to trim the book to a smaller quarto scale, while the covers have the royal cipher of King George III in gilt.

First edition of the earliest published account of Cook's first voyage to the Pacific and the discovery of the east coast of Australia: the rare first issue, with the leaf of dedication to 'The Right Honourable Lords of the Admiralty, and to Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander' inserted by the publisher to add authenticity. The binding is unusual in that the binder has taken advantage of the small text block to trim the book to a smaller quarto scale, while the covers have the royal cipher of King George III in gilt.

This was the first of a series of so-called "surreptitious accounts" of Cook's various voyages to appear in print: the Admiralty found it practically impossible to enforce their ruling that no unofficial publications should pre-empt the official and lengthier accounts of the voyages, naturally much slower in the press. In this case, however, legal action was taken against the publisher for using an unauthorised dedication, forcing removal of the leaf during publication. 'It is accordingly of the greatest rarity, and copies of the book containing the dedication are far more valuable than those without it…' (Davidson).

Published anonymously some two months after the return of Endeavour and nearly two years before Hawkesworth's official account, its author remained unknown, though the great Cook scholar Beaglehole demonstrated that the American sailor James Magra is the likeliest candidate. Magra's illicit sale of his journal to the publishers would have confirmed Cook's opinion of him: 'one of those gentlemen, frequently found on board Kings Ships, that can very well be spared, or to speake more planer good for nothing…'. He was a New Yorker and a loyalist.

Whatever his skipper and the authorities may have thought of him, it was Magra who got the first description of the voyage into print - and incidentally the earliest printed account of the east coast of Australia, published even before acceptance of the name Botany Bay, here called Sting-ray Bay as Cook originally christened it. Subsequently changing his name to Matra to ease his inheritance of a Corsican estate, he became an enthusiastic promoter of the mooted convict colony at Botany Bay, producing various schemes for government and testifying to the House of Commons committee enquiring into the resumption of transportation in May 1785, as one of the few Europeans then alive who had actually visited New South Wales.

Provenance: This intriguing copy has a remarkable provenance, with the arms of George III on both boards, but apparently released as a duplicate; later in the Victorian-era collection of Thomas Harman Brenchley (armorial bookplate); more recently Commander Ingleton (who noted that the boards have the "royal cipher of King George III on both sides in gilt", sale catalogue no. 6351).

Bagnall, 3324; Beaglehole, I, pp. cclvi-cclxiv; Beddie, 693; Davidson, 'A Book Collector's Notes', pp. 53-4; Hill, 1066 (the second issue without dedication leaf); Hocken, p. 9; Holmes, 3; O'Reilly-Reitman, 362.

Price (AUD): $42,500.00

US$30,217.95   Other currencies

Ref: #4503929