FLEURIEU, Charles Pierre Claret de, Comte (1738-1810)
Discoveries of the French in 1768 and 1769, to the South-East of New Guinea, with the Subsequent Visits to the Same Lands by English Navigators, who Gave Them New Names. To which Is Prefixed, an Historical Abridgement of the Voyages and Discoveries of the Spaniards in the Same Seas
London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1791. 4to. (10 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches). xxiv, 323, pp. Half-title. 12 engraved folding maps and plates (9 maps, 2 views, and a plate).
Twentieth-century half brown calf over patterned paper covered boards, spine with raised bands, black morocco lettering piece in the second compartment, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt
Provenance: J. T. Sureune (signature dated 1837 on endpaper); Thomas Gill (bookplate on the front pastedown)
First English edition, following the French edition of the previous year.
Writing during a period of intense international rivalry over discoveries in the Pacific, Fleurieu (a French politician and scientist) promotes the discoveries of Bougainville and Jean de Surville at the expense of British claims, though he does acknowledge some of Captain Cook's discoveries. To bolster his claims for the French, Fleurieu uses unpublished manuscripts, as well as the printed accounts of several Spanish and British navigators. An appendix prints Buache's "Extract from a memoir concerning the existence and situation of Solomon's Islands...." The twelve folding maps and plates relate to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. "The maps are interesting, since they were based both on actual discoveries and on Fleurieu's theories. When d'Entrecasteaux returned from his fruitless search for La Perouse, he confirmed that Fleurieu's theories appeared to be generally correct" (Hill).
Hill 611; Beddie 1302; Ferguson 105; Sabin 24749; Cox II:304.