Life of Captain James Cook

Andrew KIPPIS   |   James COOK

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"THE MOST COMPELLING JUSTIFICATION FOR COOK'S VOYAGES": FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST BIOGRAPHY OF CAPTAIN COOK, 1788

(COOK, James) KIPPIS, Andrew. The Life of Captain James Cook. London: Printed for G. Nicol and G.C.J. and J. Robinson, 1788. Quarto, modern full speckled calf gilt, raised bands, burgundy morocco spine label.

First edition of the first biography of Captain James Cook, with frontispiece portrait by James Heath, handsomely bound.

"This work contains an admirable precis of the three voyages, with valuable information from the original sources. It introduces most of Samwell's Narative of Captain Cook's Death, and also gives accounts of the various tributes to Cook's memory" (Cox I, 64). "Kippis went further than most writers in transforming Cook's voyages from scientific missions with a multiplicity of purposes to expeditions motivated wholly by the urge to civilize and improve the world. He was not entirely naïve about the results of Cook's discoveries, recognizing that many thoughtful observers questioned the value of European contact for Pacific peoples, but concluded that Cook's humanitarian motives outweighed any possible negative consequences… [Kippis' Life] became the most compelling justification both for Cook's voyages and for continued European involvement in the Pacific in years to come" (Withey, 406-7). With half title. Beddie 1962. Howgego C176.

A few small ink markings to title page; faint foxing to frontispiece, text generally clean. Binding fine and handsome.

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