Item #5000291 Voyage autour du Monde, par la Frégate du Roi, La Boudeuse, et la Flûte l'Etoile; en 1766, 1767, 1768 & 1769. Louis Antoine de BOUGAINVILLE.
Voyage autour du Monde, par la Frégate du Roi, La Boudeuse, et la Flûte l'Etoile; en 1766, 1767, 1768 & 1769.

Voyage autour du Monde…
Voyage autour du Monde, par la Frégate du Roi, La Boudeuse, et la Flûte l'Etoile; en 1766, 1767, 1768 & 1769.

Paris: chez Saillant & Nyon, 1771.

Quarto, with 20 engraved charts (including 18 folding) and 3 plates of boats; contemporary calf, rebacked.

First edition of the first French circumnavigation

First edition of Bougainville's narrative of his important voyage, the first French circumnavigation. Bougainville's description of his travels in the Pacific created enormous interest in Europe and was largely responsible for building up the romantic vision of a South Sea paradise where Rousseau's noble savage lived in a state of blissful innocence. Bougainville showed the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in naming Tahiti "Nouvelle Cythère" after the small island off the coast of southern Greece which, in Greek mythology, provided a sanctuary for Aphrodite, goddess of love. The reality was less sublime: he took   back with him from Tahiti to Paris, giving him lessons in French for the remainder of the voyage, but the uprooted Tahitian just didn't get it: Forster with typical arrogance dismissed him as "stupid". He was allowed to go home on a subsequent voyage but died of smallpox on the way, another tragic minor figure in the history of discovery and colonisation.

First edition of Bougainville's narrative of his important voyage, the first French circumnavigation. Bougainville's description of his travels in the Pacific created enormous interest in Europe and was largely responsible for building up the romantic vision of a South Sea paradise where Rousseau's noble savage lived in a state of blissful innocence. Bougainville showed the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in naming Tahiti "Nouvelle Cythère" after the small island off the coast of southern Greece which, in Greek mythology, provided a sanctuary for Aphrodite, goddess of love. The reality was less sublime: he took   back with him from Tahiti to Paris, giving him lessons in French for the remainder of the voyage, but the uprooted Tahitian just didn't get it: Forster with typical arrogance dismissed him as "stupid". He was allowed to go home on a subsequent voyage but died of smallpox on the way, another tragic minor figure in the history of discovery and colonisation.

Bougainville's expedition passed through the Strait of Magellan in January 1768. After some time looking for the mythical "Davis Land", said to be off the Chilean coast, they started on a direct route across the Pacific. They discovered the Tuamotus, and reached Tahiti in April. Bougainville, not knowing of Wallis's stop there a year earlier, thought that he had discovered Tahiti, and his lengthy account of the island group is an interesting counterpart to Wallis's account. The vocabulary of three hundred words that he prints is the first such vocabulary of any Polynesian language to appear.

They then visited Samoa, and continued on, finally reaching the New Hebrides and 'La Austrialia del Espíritu Santo', discovered by Quirós in 1606 and believed to be part of the supposed Southern Continent. The only way to determine this, Bougainville resolved, was to head further to the west in the hope of sighting the eastern coast of New Holland. 'This he did, only to be impeded by the Great Barrier Reef and, although several of his crew claimed to have sighted land, this was not confirmed and the ships were headed to the N. Nevertheless, Bougainville concluded that he was close to some extensive land and, in running westwards from Espíritu Santo, he had dared to face the risk of the legendary lee-shore of New Holland and New Guinea, even though prudence, shortage of food and the condition of his vessels would have justified his heading northwards at an earlier date' (Colin Jack-Hinton, The Search for the Islands of Solomon, p. 256); G. A. Wood (The Discovery of Australia, pp. 369-79), observes that had Bougainville persevered 'he would have come to the Australian coast near Cooktown, and would, likely enough, have been wrecked where Cook was wrecked two years later'.

Provenance: The Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire (with armorial bookplate); Frederick E. Ellis (American collector, with pictorial bookplate).

Hill, 163; Kroepelien, 109; O'Reilly-Reitman, 283.

Condition Report: Small wormhole to last blank leaves, not affecting text; occasional light spotting; a couple fo tears to folding plates; overall a good copy.

Price (AUD): $7,850.00

US$5,075.74   Other currencies

Ref: #5000291

Condition Report