1798. London: Printed for G.G. and J. Robinson, and J. Edwards, 1798.
Three vols., 4to,  xxix  432;  504;  505 [3, errata] pages, 17 engraved plates, engraved map. New half calf, marbled boards, gilt-stamped backstrips with red and green labels. [with] [Atlas] 16 engraved charts and profiles (10 folding), bound to match.
§ § First edition. Occasional foxing and offsetting from the plates as usual, otherwise a delightful set, complete with all of the plates, maps, and profiles. The Doddington Library copy, with engraved bookplates. Vancouver’s voyage was the most important Pacific exploring expedition since the three voyages of Cook two decades earlier. It was undertaken to reassert Great Britain’s rights under the Nootka Convention, to survey the northwest coast of North America from 30 ° to 60 ° north latitude, and to search for the western entrance to the legendary Northwest Passage. Vancouver had sailed with Cook on his second and third voyages, and had a familiarity with the Pacific Ocean that made him an ideal choice to command this important expedition in spite of his comparative youth. He sailed from England, proceeding by way of the Cape of Good Hope, across the Indian Ocean to the southwest coast of Australia, on to New Zealand, Tahiti, the Sandwich Islands, and the coast of North America, which he surveyed from San Diego north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. He circumnavigated the island that now bears his name, and finally disproved the long-held theory that there was a passage that linked the Pacific Ocean with Hudson Bay. In California, he visited San Diego, Monterey, San Francisco Bay (where he received a less than enthusiastic welcome from the Spanish inhabitants), and Cape Mendocino, and his coastal survey of the area north of San Francisco was the most accurate that had been done to that time. His Voyage is important not only for the magnificent charts and splendid views that accompanied it, but also for the valuable and extensive amount of information that it provided on the Spanish settlements, the Indian tribes, and the physical features of the country that he visited. It is one of the “classics” of late eighteenth-century geographical literature. Vancouver died before the work was actually published, and much of the final editing was done by his brother, John, and by Peter Puget. An octavo edition, with corrections, was issued in six volumes, without an atlas, in 1801, and French translations appeared in 1800, 1801 and 1803, with German, Swedish, and Russian editions being published in 1799, 1800, and 1827 respectively. None, however, can match the elegance and importance of this first printing. Cowan (1914), p. 236 (“superior to any of its kind, and constitutes the chiefest source of authority of that period”); (1933), p. 655. Cox II, p.30 (“one of the most important voyages ever made in the interests of geographical knowledge”). Ferguson 281. Graff 4456. Hill pp. 303-304. Howes V-23. JCB 4009. Jones 667. Judd, Voyages to Hawaii before 1860, 178. Lada-Mocarski 55. Lande, Collection of Canadiana, 1495. National Maritime Museum, Catalogue, 142. O’Reilly-Reitman, Bibliographie de Tahiti, 635. Sabin 98443. Smith, Pacific Northwest Americana, 10469. Staton & Tremaine, Bibliography of Canadiana, 688. Strathern, Navigations, Traffiques & Discoveries, 582. Streeter 3497. Taylor, Pacific Bibliography, p. 56. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast, 853-860. Wickersham, Bibliography of Alaskan Literature, 6601. Zamorano Eighty 77. Item #124198