COOK, Capt. James (1728-1779) and 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: printed by H. Hughs for G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785. 4 volumes (text: 3 volumes, quarto [11 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches]; atlas: 1 volume. Large folio [21 3/4 x 15 1/2 inches]). Text: Titles with engraved medallion vignettes. 2 large engraved folding maps [usually found in the atlas, here bound into the text at a contemporary date], 24 engraved maps, coastal profiles and charts (13 folding), 1 folding letterpress table. Atlas: 61 engraved plates, charts and maps [complete].
Expertly bound to style in half 18th-century russia and period marbled paper covered boards, spines with raised bands in compartments, red and black morocco lettering pieces in the second and third, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt
A fine set of the second and best edition of the official account of Cook's third and last voyage, during which he explored Hawaii and the west coast of America, Canada and Alaska.
"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. 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 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 that "the letter press of the second edition being much superior to the first both in paper & letter press." A pleasing set of Cook's third voyage, with the plates in the atlas free of any foxing and with strong impressions of the plates, and with an unusually large set of the text.
Beddie 1552; Forbes 85; Hill (2004) 361 (first edition); cf. Lada-Mocarski 37; cf. Sabin 16250.