COOK, Capt. James (1728-1779) and Captain James KING.
A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean ... Performed under the direction of Captains Cook, Clerke, and Gore, in His Majesty's Ships the Resolution and Discovery; in the years 1776-1779 and 1780
London: H. Hughes, for G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785. 4 volumes. (Text: 3 vols., quarto [11 1/4 x 9 inches]; Atlas vol. of plates: 1 vol., large folio [21 ½ x 16 ¾ inches]).Text: Engraved medallion portrait vignettes by James Hogg on titles, 1 folding letterpress table. Atlas vol.: 87 engraved plates, plans and maps (one double-page, one folding), the 24 plates normally found bound in the text vol. here bound in the atlas unfolded and untrimmed.
Text: contemporary tree calf, red morocco spine labels (neat repairs to head and foot of spines). Atlas: contemporary half calf and marbled-paper boards, red morocco spine labels. (Some wear to head and tail of spine)
A fine unsophisticated set of the third edition of the third voyage, with the plates in their most desirable form: all the plates usually found in the text volumes are here bound, unfolded and uncut, 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 and third editions 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."
Copies of the Third Voyage with the plates from the text uncut, unfolded and bound into the atlas are rare. 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 1543; Forbes 85; Hill (2004) 361; Lada-Mocarski 37; cf. Printing and the Mind of Man 223; Sabin 16250.