COOK, Capt. James (1728-1779). - John HAWKESWORTH (1715?-1779)
An Account of the Voyages undertaken by the order of His Present Majesty for making discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour; Drawn up from the journals which were kept by the several commanders, and from the papers of Joseph Banks
London: printed for W. Strahan, and T. Cadell, 1773. 3 volumes, quarto. (11 x 8 5/8 inches). 51 engraved plates, maps and charts (41 folding). (Some small repaired tears).
Contemporary calf, gilt border to covers, expertly rebacked to style, spine with raised bands in six compartments, red and green morocco lettering pieces in the second and fourth compartments, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt, period marbled endpapers
Provenance: Earl Fitzwilliam (Milton House, Cambridgeshire, book label, armorial bookplate)
The Fitzwilliam set of the first edition, first issue, of Hawkesworth's account of the most important mid-18th century English voyages of exploration to the southern hemisphere, including the official account of Cook's first voyage. A fascinating narrative intended to "embellish England's prestige as a maritime power" (Hill) and describing events that were to be major factors in the shaping of Pacific exploration.
The first volume contains accounts edited by Hawkesworth of the voyages of Byron, Wallis and Carteret, with the remaining volumes dedicated wholly to Cook's first voyage. "The first voyage under ... Captain Cook's command on the Endeavour, was primarily of a scientific nature. The expedition was to sail to Tahiti in order to observe the transit of Venus across the disk of the sun, to determine the earth's distance from the sun, and also to carry on the geographical discovery that John Byron had started. Entering the Pacific around Cape Horn, Cook reached Tahiti in 1769 and carried out the necessary astronomical observations ... Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel C. Solander carried out extensive ethnological and botanical research. Leaving Tahiti in July, Cook discovered, named, and charted the Society Islands, and then, heading southwest, explored New Zealand, which resulted in ... a detailed survey of the country. Cook then headed toward Australia and discovered and charted the eastern coast for 2,000 miles, naming the area New South Wales ... Both Australia and New Zealand were annexed by the British as a result of this voyage, which began in 1768 and ended in 1771. Cook had charted upwards of 5,000 miles of coastline under great difficulties. Cook's discoveries won him prominence, promotion, and the opportunity to sail again. They also ensured John Hawkesworth's position in maritime literary history, as the official chronicler of Cook's first voyage. Hawkesworth, an eminent London author, was chosen by Lord Sandwich and commissioned by the Admiralty to prepare these narratives for publication ... [He] was expected to add polish to the rough narratives of sea men, and to present the accounts in a style befitting the status of the voyages as official government expeditions, intended to embellish England's prestige as a maritime power" (Hill). This copy is bound without the "Directions for placing the cuts" or the "Chart of the Strait of Magellan" in vol. I (both not required in the earliest issues).
Beddie 648; Hill, p.139; Holmes 5; Sabin 30934.