4to (265 x 215 mm); pp. xxviii, 476, with five maps and one plate, all folding; minor marginal repair on 2L2, not affecting text; near contemporary half-calf, slightly rubbed, but a very good copy; provenance: P.R. Sandwell (collector of works on the Pacific, bookplate on upper pastedown; his sale, Christie’s London, 21 September 2005, lot 21).
US $7188 €6172
First English edition. The first French circumnavigation, undertaken by Bougainville, who had instructions to hand over the Falkland Island, which he had colonised in 1764, to Spain (currently France’s ally), and then to proceed towards China via the Straits of Magellan and the South Sea, investigating the islands or continent lying between the Indies and the western seaboard of America (cf. John Dunmore, French Explorers in the Pacific (Oxford: 1965), I, p. 67). Unaware of Wallis’s visit less than a year before, Bougainville claimed possession of Tahiti, and then reached the New Hebrides archipelago and ‘La Austrialia del Espíritu Santo’, which had been discovered by Quiros in 1606 and was believed to be part of the supposed Southern Continent. The only way to determine this, Bougainville resolved, was to sail westward a further 350 leagues in the hope of sighting the eastern coast of New Holland. ‘This he did, only to be impeded by the Great Barrier Reef and, although several of his crew claimed to have sighted land, this was not confirmed and the ships were headed to the N. Nevertheless, Bougainville concluded that he was close to some extensive land and, in running westwards from Espíritu Santo, he had dared to face the risk of the legendary lee-shore of New Holland and New Guinea, even though prudence, shortage of food and the condition of his vessels would have justified his heading northwards at an earlier date’ (Colin Jack-Hinton, The Search for the Islands of Solomon (Oxford: 1969), p. 256); G.A. Wood, The Discovery of Australia (London: 1922) observes that had Bougainville persevered ‘he would have come to the Australian coast near Cooktown, and would, likely enough, have been wrecked where Cook was wrecked two years later’ (pp. 369-379).
Hill comments that the translator of the text may have been Georg (rather than Johann Reinhold) Forster, and that Johann Reinhold Forster was the author of the preface, dedication, and footnotes. Both father and son accompanied Cook on his second voyage, which set off later in 1772, and presumably a copy of this translation travelled with the expedition; certainly, Cook’s journals refer to Bougainville’s work in this translation. For example, on 17 January 1773, Cook referred to a description of ‘the penguin of the first class’ on p. 64 of A Voyage: ‘[i]t appears by M. Bougainville[’]s account of the Animals of Falkland Islands that this Penguin is there and seems to be very well described under the name of first class of Penguins, P.64’ (Beaglehole (ed.), The Journals of Captain James Cook, II, p. 622). The Critical Review praised its ‘judicious annotation, with the exactness and elegance of the charts’, which rendered this translation ‘superior to the original’ of 1771; however, this opinion may have been written by Forster himself (see Michael Hoare, The Tactless Philosopher. Johann Reinhold Forster (Melbourne: 1976), p. 68).
Duviols p. 474; Hill 165; Kroepelien 113; O’Reilly & Reitman 285; Sabin 6869.
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TAVERNIER, Jean Baptiste.
Recüeil de plusieurs relations et traitez singuliers et curieux . . . qui n’ont point esté mis dans ses six premiers voyages. Divisé en cinq paties [sic]. I. Une relation du Japon, et de la cause de la persecution des Chrestiens dans ses isles: avec la carte du païs. II. Relation de ce qui s’est passé dans la negociation des deputez qui ont esté en Perse et aux Indes, tant de la part du roy, que de la Compagnie Françoise, pour l’establissement du commerce. III. Observations sur le commerce des Indes Orientales, et sur les frauds qui s’y peuvent commetre. IV. Relation nouvelle et singuliere du royaume de Tunquin: avec plusieurs figures et la carte du païs. V. Histoire de la conduite des Hollandois en Asie.
First edition, separately published, of the third part of Tavernier’s celebrated collection of voyages. The first two parts, Les six voyages, had appeared in 1676 and were also reissued in 1679.
‘ATMOSPHERIC AND FAITHFUL’ MENDES PINTO, Fernão (Bernard FIGUIER, translator).
Les voyages advantureux de Fernand Mendez Pinto. Fidelement traduicts de portugais en françois par le Sieur Bernard Figuier gentil-homme portugais. Et dediez à Monseigneur le Cardinal de Richelieu.
First edition in French of Mendes Pinto’s celebrated travel account; rare. The original Portuguese edition was published in 1614, although the first draft of the book had been completed by 1569. The present ‘atmospheric and faithful French translation’ (Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe, III, p. 401) is by Bernard Figuier (probably Bernardo Figueiro) and was reprinted in 1645 and 1663. Figuier seems to have made use of both Portuguese and Spanish versions for his translation.