LEDYARD, John (1751-1789)
A Journal of Captain Cook's Last Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, and in Quest of a North-West Passage, Between Asia & America performed in the years 1776, 1777, 1778, and 1779
Hartford: printed and sold by Nathaniel Patten, 1783. Octavo. (6 5/8 x 4 3/8 inches). 208pp. (Without the folding map, as usual). Small areas of expert restoration to two leaves.
Expertly bound to style in full tree calf, flat spine ruled in gilt, red morocco lettering piece
First edition of the first American book on Hawaii and the northwest coast of America, and the only American account of Cook's third voyage.
John Ledyard was the only American to serve on Cook's third voyage, aboard the Resolution, as a Corporal of marines, and witnessed Cook's death in Hawaii as he was one of the oarsman of the boat Cook took ashore. On the expedition's return, all the journals were retained by the British Admiralty, but, after he returned to his family in Connecticut, Ledyard was persuaded to rewrite his journal from memory, which was then published. Although believed by some to be based partially on Rickman's narrative, Ledyard's journal contains information not available elsewhere, including the first published description of the Russian settlement at Unalaska. "Ledyard is an important figure in the history of American contacts in the South Seas. Not only was he the first New Englander in the Pacific, but he went there with the great Captain Cook, and was with him when Hawaii was discovered. Ledyard visualized in the minutest detail the northwest coast China trade" (Hill). Ledyard went on to carry out some remarkable overland journeys, before accidently killing himself in Cairo by drinking vitriol. Ledyard's Journal is a noted rarity and copies with the map are almost unknown in today's market (and possibly not issued with all copies).
Beddie 1603; Davidson, pp 64-5; Evans 17998; Forbes I, 52; Hill (2004) 991; Howes L181; Judd 108; Lada-Mocarski 36; Sabin 39691; Streeter Sale 3477; Wickersham 6556.