An Historical Collection of the several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean. Alexander DALRYMPLE.
An Historical Collection of the several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean.

An Historical Collection of the several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean.

London: Printed for the author, 1770-1771.

Two volumes bound as one, quarto, with 16 engraved maps and plates (mostly folding), including the additional plate of "Teepye lobsters" which does not appear in Dalrymple's list; contemporary tree calf, green morocco spine label; a very good tall copy.

Foundation book for any voyage library

First edition: Dalrymple's famous collection of Spanish and Dutch voyages to the Southern Ocean, a foundation book for any voyage library. Passionately involved in the argument over the possible existence of a southern continent, Dalrymple here partially translates some twelve original accounts which support his belief in its existence. The various Spanish and Dutch accounts, beginning with Magellan's voyage of 1519, include many of interest to northern Australia, including those of Mendana, Quiros and Tasman. The book encompasses the state of voyaging and discovery in the Pacific in 1770, and was published at approximately the time of the return of Cook's first voyage, in the Endeavour. It thus neatly encapsulates the story of maritime discovery right up to the point when Cook would change it all. This was more than just a coincidence of timing: much of Dalrymple's work had been done in the expectation that he would himself have the command of the Endeavour voyage to observe the transit of Venus, but partly because of his insistence on being given an Admiralty commission, the command went to Cook instead.

First edition: Dalrymple's famous collection of Spanish and Dutch voyages to the Southern Ocean, a foundation book for any voyage library. Passionately involved in the argument over the possible existence of a southern continent, Dalrymple here partially translates some twelve original accounts which support his belief in its existence. The various Spanish and Dutch accounts, beginning with Magellan's voyage of 1519, include many of interest to northern Australia, including those of Mendana, Quiros and Tasman. The book encompasses the state of voyaging and discovery in the Pacific in 1770, and was published at approximately the time of the return of Cook's first voyage, in the Endeavour. It thus neatly encapsulates the story of maritime discovery right up to the point when Cook would change it all. This was more than just a coincidence of timing: much of Dalrymple's work had been done in the expectation that he would himself have the command of the Endeavour voyage to observe the transit of Venus, but partly because of his insistence on being given an Admiralty commission, the command went to Cook instead.
Dalrymple (1737-1808), the great hydrographer, first made his career in the East India Company. His personality was certainly not well suited to command: quarrelsome and arrogant, he was quick to take offence and his disappointment at missing out on the command is hinted at in the remarkable "undedications" of this work: to Byron 'who discovered scarcely anything but Patagonians' and to Wallis, the discoverer of Tahiti, who 'infatuated with female blandishments forgot for what he went abroad and hastened back to amuse the European world with stories of enchantments…'.
'Dalrymple was the first critical editor of discoveries in Australasia and Polynesia… An avid mercantilist, [he] theorized that the unexploited lands of the South Pacific would serve to augment England's expanding trade' (Hill catalogue). The book's publication effectively announced the dawn of the golden age of Pacific exploration. The Spanish accounts gathered by Dalrymple include Mendana's voyage to the Solomon Islands in 1595, and that of De Quiros in 1606. The Dutch accounts include those of Le Maire, Schouten, Tasman and Roggewein. Dalrymple's long introduction on trade and his 'investigation of what may be farther expected in the South Sea' expound his belief in the existence of a "Great Southern Continent", a theory firmly laid to rest when Cook later sailed right over it.
This is an excellent copy of the book. Collations given by bookdealers and bibliographers sometimes vary, particularly regarding the engravings, and are not helped by Dalrymple's eccentric list of plates in his Introduction; this copy is exactly as we have seen the book several times before. Dalrymple lists fifteen plates, all of which are present in this copy along with an additional plate of "Teepye lobsters" which does not appear in Dalrymple's list.

Provenance: Private collection (Australia).

Davidson, 'A Book Collector's Notes', pp. 36-7; Hill, 410; Holmes (first edition), 32; Kroepelien, 245.

Price (AUD): $17,850.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504318

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