VANCOUVER, George (1757-1798)
A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World; in which the coast of North-West America has been carefully examined and accurately surveyed... principally with a view to ascertain the existence of any navigable communication between the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans; and performed in the years 1790.. [-] 1795, in the Discovery sloop of war, and the armed tender Chatham.
[Edited by John Vancouver]. London: printed for G.G. & J. Robinson and J. Edwards, 1798. 3 volumes (without the folio atlas), quarto. (11 3/8 x 9 1/4 inches). Half-titles, 3pp. errata at the end of vol.III. 1 engraved chart, 17 engraved plates.
Later half morocco over marbled paper-covered boards, the spines gilt in compartments, the bands highlighted with gilt tooling
First edition of the text volumes to "One of the most important [voyages] ever made in the interests of geographical knowledge" (Hill).
Vancouver was put in command of the expedition on the recommendation of his old commanding officer Alan Gardner. He had served earlier with both Admiral Rodney and on James Cook's second and third voyages, so was well equipped in terms of experience, in addition he was a first class navigator. The voyage was mounted as a `grand-scale expedition to reclaim Britain's rights, resulting from the Nootka Convention, at Nootka Sound, to thoroughly examine the coast south of 60º in order to find a possible passage to the Atlantic; and to learn what establishments had been founded by other powers. This voyage became one of the most important ever made in the interests of geographical knowledge. Vancouver sailed by way of the Cape of Good Hope to Australia, where he discovered King George's Sound and Cape Hood, then to New Zealand, Hawaii, and the northwest coast of America. In three seasons' work Vancouver surveyed the coast of California; visited San Francisco and San Diego ... and other Spanish settlements in Alta California; settled the necessary formalities with the Spanish at Nootka; investigated the Strait of Juan de Fuca; discovered the Strait of Georgia; circumnavigated Vancouver Island; and disproved the existence of any passage between the Pacific and Hudson Bay.' (Hill Pacific Voyages  p.623).
Cowan (1914), p. 236 ("superior to any of its kind, and constitutes the chiefest source of authority of that period"); Cowan (1933), p. 654-655; Cox II, p.30 ("one of the most important voyages ever made in the interests of geographical knowledge"); Ferguson I, 281; Fitzpatrick Early Mapping of Hawai'i ("Vancouver's voyage resulted in the first published map of Hawai'i to depict the islands in their entirety"); pp.39-43; Forbes I,298; Graff Western Americana 4456; Hill (2004) 1753; Howes V-23; JCB 2009; Jones Americana 667; Judd 178; Lada-Mocarski 55; Lande 1495; National Maritime Museum 142; O'Reilly-Reitman 635; Sabin 98443; Smith Pacific Northwest Americana 10469. Staton & Tremaine 688; Strathern 582; Streeter Sale 3497;Tweney 78; Wagner Cartography of the Northwest Coast, pp.853-860; Wantrup 63a; ; Wickersham 6601; Zamorano Eighty 77.
Cf. Vice Admiral George W. Emery. The Rodgers Family Collection at the Navy Department Library. (online); R.P. Johnson. Rear Admiral John Rodgers, 1812-1882. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1967.