History of the Voyages and Discoveries Made in the North

John Reinhold FORSTER

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Item#: 127011 price:$4,800.00

History of the Voyages and Discoveries Made in the North
History of the Voyages and Discoveries Made in the North
History of the Voyages and Discoveries Made in the North

EARLY SEARCHES FOR THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE: FORSTER'S HISTORY OF THE VOYAGES AND DISCOVERIES MADE IN THE NORTH, 1786 FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH, WITH THREE FOLDING MAPS

FORSTER, John Reinhold. History of the Voyages and Discoveries Made in the North. Translated from the German… and Elucidated by Several New and Original Maps. London: G.G.J. and J. Robinson, 1786. Quarto, modern full brown morocco gilt, raised bands, black and green morocco spine labels, marbled edges. $4800.

First edition in English of this early historical survey of attempts to discover a North West Passage, including an account of Cook's last voyage, with three engraved folding maps, handsomely bound by Bayntun.

The North West Passage was sought by traders "as a way to get round America to reach the riches of China and the Far East… [It] was Amundsen who first navigated the North West Passage in 1906" (Savours, vi). German scholar Johann Reinhold Forster (with his son) had accompanied Captain James Cook as the naturalist on Cook's second voyage eastward around the world in 1772-75. Upon their return, both Cook and Forster drafted separate accounts of the voyage— only Cook's, however, was accepted by the Admiralty, whereupon Forster turned his manuscript over to his son, "who published it six weeks before the official version" (Howgego). First appearing in German in 1784, this is Forster's "learned account" (Cox) of the various attempts at discovering a North West Passage, "from antiquity to the middle of the 18th-century." It is a comprehensive survey of the efforts of the English, Dutch, French, Spaniards, Portuguese, Danes, and Russians, and includes a chapter on Cook's third and last voyage, up the coast of the north Pacific, with instructions "to settle once and for all the question of the North West Passage" (Howgego, 258). Cook was unable to sail much farther than the Bering Straits and on his return south was killed in a dispute with inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands. Despite Forster's earlier differences with Cook, he memorializes him here as a "truly glorious and justly-admired navigator… We must acknowledge him to have been one of the greatest men of his age." Bound with half title; publisher's advertisement leaf at rear. Howes F269. Cox I, 22. Arctic Bibliography 5161. Howgego, 394. Sabin 25138. Staton & Tremaine 528. Bookplate.

Occasional light foxing, mild offsetting to title page. Binding handsome and fine.

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