COOK, Capt. James (1728-1779) and Captain James KING
A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean ... for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere. Performed under the Direction of Captains Cook, Clerke, and Gore, in His Majesty's Ships the Resolution and Discovery; in the Years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, and 1780
London: H. Hughs for G. Nicol, and T. Cadell, 1785. 4 volumes (Text: 3 vols., quarto [12 7/16 x 9 3/4 inches]; Atlas:. [22 5/8 x 16 3/4 inches]). Text: final blank 4H4 in vol.I. 1 folding letterpress table, uncut. Atlas: 87 engraved plates, plans and maps (1 folding, 1 double-page, plate LXXXII a proof before the addition of the plate number which is added in ink in a contemporary manuscript hand), the larger plates uncut at outer and lower margins, the smaller plates completely uncut and unfolded.
Text: contemporary blue/gray paper-covered boards rebacked to style in 18th-century diced russia, spines gilt in seven compartments, red morocco lettering-pieces in the second and dark green/blue morocco in the third compartments, repeat pattern in gilt in the other compartments, edges uncut; Atlas: bound to match using blue/gray paper-covered boards backed with 18th-century diced russia, spine gilt in eight compartments with raised bands, lettering-pieces and repeat decoration in gilt using the same tools as used on the text volumes, top edge gilt
A very fine original set of the second and best edition of the text, with the plates in their most desirable form: all the plates usually found in the text volumes are here bound, unfolded in the atlas volume.
"The famous accounts of Captain Cook's three voyages form the basis for any collection of Pacific books. In three great voyages Cook did more to clarify the geographical knowledge of the southern hemisphere than all his predecessors had done together. He was really the first scientific navigator and his voyages made great contributions to many fields of knowledge" (Hill). "Cook's third voyage was organized to seek the Northwest Passage and to return [the islander] Omai to Tahiti. Officers of the crew included William Bligh, James Burney, James Colnett, and George Vancouver. John Webber was appointed artist to the expedition. After calling at Kerguelen Island, Tasmania, New Zealand, and the Cook, Tonga, and Society Islands, the expedition sailed north and discovered Christmas Island and the Hawaiian Islands, which Cook named the Sandwich Islands. Cook charted the American west coast from Northern California through the Bering Strait as far north as latitude 70 degrees 44 minutes before he was stopped by pack ice. He returned to Hawaii for the winter and was killed in an unhappy skirmish with the natives over a boat. Charles Clarke took command and after he died six months later, the ships returned to England under John Gore. Despite hostilities with the United States and France, the scientific nature of this expedition caused the various governments to exempt these vessels from capture. The voyage resulted in what Cook judged his most valuable discovery - the Hawaiian Islands" (Hill). The typography of the second edition of the text of the third voyage is generally considered superior to the first. For the second and subsequent editions, Hughes took over the printing from Strahan and re-set the text. Contemporary support for this view is reported by Forbes who quotes an inscription in a set presented by Mrs. Cook to her doctor, Dr. Elliotson, which notes "the letter press of the second edition being much superior to the first both in paper & letter press." Of great rarity and significance are the presence of the plates usually found in the text volume, here unfolded and bound into the atlas. Such sets are more desirable, as the plates may be enjoyed more fully without the usual folds and losses from irregular trimming by the binder.
Beddie 1552; Forbes Hawaiian National Bibliography 85; cf. Sabin 16250.