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 MAGRA, attributed.
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 in HMS Endeavour…
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: Printed for T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, in the Strand, 1771.

Quarto; a fine copy in a Sangorski-style binding of half green morocco, spine panelled in gilt between raised bands.

The earliest printed description of the east coast of Australia

First edition of the earliest published account of Cook's first voyage to the Pacific: 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 publishers to add authenticity. 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). In this large copy, the offending leaf has generous margins and retains its printed instruction to the binder "Place this next the title" (which also, interestingly, indicates that the leaf was printed quite separately from the rest of the work).

First edition of the earliest published account of Cook's first voyage to the Pacific: 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 publishers to add authenticity. 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). In this large copy, the offending leaf has generous margins and retains its printed instruction to the binder "Place this next the title" (which also, interestingly, indicates that the leaf was printed quite separately from the rest of the work).

The British public's eagerness for news of the voyage needed more than newspaper accounts, while the officially sanctioned narrative would be a long time coming. Published anonymously some two months after the return of the Endeavour and nearly two years before Hawkesworth's official account, the Cook scholar Beaglehole demonstrated that the sailor James Magra was the author. His illicit sale of his journal to the publishers might well 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 -- 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.

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Magra later changed his name to Matra to claim a family inheritance. As Alan Frost has shown ("The Precarious Life of James Mario Matra: Voyager with Cook; American Loyalist; Servant of Empire", 1995) Matra used his experiences on the east coast of Australia to draft his 1783 proposal for a penal colony at Botany Bay. Never shy in self-promotion, he announced his hope of being made Governor. His plan, like Sir Joseph Banks's before and George Young's after him, had its effect on the planners of the First Fleet and he was called as an expert witness to the committee in charge of solving the question of transportation (see Frost, pp.113-122). His life has prompted a considerable literature, with multiple studies of his career and importance including those by G.B. Barton, George Anthony Wood, James Watson (who christened him the "Father of Australia", an accolade more often awarded to Joseph Banks), and more recently Antonio Giordano (who has him as "Australia's Spiritual Father") and Andrew Tink.

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Beddie, 693; Davidson, 'A Book Collector's Notes', pp. 53-4; Hill, 1066 (second issue); Hocken, p. 9; Holmes, 3; New Zealand National Bibliography, 3324; O'Reilly-Reitman, 362.

Price (AUD): $48,500.00

US$33,364.43   Other currencies

Ref: #5000651