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 [11 3/8 x 9 1/4 inches]; Atlas vol. of plates: 1 vol., large folio [22 x 16 inches]). Text: Engraved medallion vignette on each title, 1 folding letterpress table, 24 engraved maps, coastal profiles and charts (13 folding). Atlas vol.: 63 engraved plates, plans and maps (one double-page, one folding).
Text: contemporary calf, expertly rebacked at an early date, incorporating the original labels; atlas: expertly bound to style in half speckled calf over contemporary marbled paper-covered boards, spine in eight compartments with raised bands, each band flanked by triple gilt fillets, red morocco lettering-piece in the second compartment, green morocco in the fourth, the others with simple repeat decoration in gilt
A fine copy of the second and best edition of the official account of Cook's third and last voyage, including images of and text on the exploration of Hawaii and the west coast of America, Canada and Alaska.
"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). The typography of the second edition text of the third voyage is generally considered superior to the first (Hughs took over the printing from Strahan and re-set all 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 second edition being much superior to the first both in paper & letterpress."
"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 pp.61-62).
Cf. Beddie 1543; cf. Forbes Hawaiian National Bibliography 62; cf. Lada-Mocarski 37; cf. Printing and the Mind of Man 223; cf. Sabin 16250.