The Official Narrative of the Endeavour Voyage: The best original edition by HAWKESWORTH, John - 1773 | Michael Reid Gallery

The Official Narrative of the Endeavour Voyage: The best original edition, 1773

An account of the voyages undertaken by the order of his present majesty for making discoveries in the southern hemisphere.

Three volumes, quarto, with a total of 52 maps, views and plates (many folding), in contemporary speckled calf, very well rebacked preserving old title and numbering labels, a handsome set with quarter morocco boxes.

London, W. Strahan & T. Cadell, 1773.

Second and best edition of the official account of the Endeavour voyage, during which Cook discovered and charted the entire east coast of Australia, naming it New South Wales. This, the version of the voyage sanctioned by the Admiralty, is both elegant and substantial. It is the first full-dress narrative and illustration of this extraordinary voyage, and consequently has the greatest significance for any collection of Australiana or of voyages, telling the fascinating story, including the various moments of early contact, and the great characters such as Joseph Banks or the Tahitian priest Tupaia. The plates, charts and views are magnificent, and most famously include the first astonishing engraving of a kangaroo, charts of New Zealand and the east coast of Australia, and the moving depiction of the Endeavour, hauled on shore just north of Cape Tribulation on the north Queensland coast to fix the hole that nearly sent them to the bottom.

The collection sets the scene for the Cook narrative by including in the first volume the official narratives of the voyages of Byron, Wallis and Carteret; the compendium thus contains the cream of eighteenth-century English exploration in the Pacific. The Cook narrative, which occupies the whole of the second and third volumes, was edited from Cook’s journals by the professional writer John Hawkesworth. Cook himself was in the middle of his second voyage when it was finally published in London to widespread enthusiasm on 9 June 1773 (at that exact moment Cook was in Cook Strait, New Zealand, having just left Queen Charlotte Sound).

This attractive set is a good example of the second and best (because most complete) edition: as well as the chart of the Strait of Magellan and the List of Plates, missing in many copies of the first edition, it contains additional preliminary material in the form of a new preface in which Hawkesworth replies to the charges of poor editing made against him by Dalrymple.

Beddie, 650; Borba de Moraes, p.395; Hill, 783; Holmes, 5(n); Kroepelien, 535(n).

In association with Hordern House.



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