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

KIPPIS, Andrew. The Life of Captain James Cook. London: Printed for G. Nicol and G.C.J. and J. Robinson, 1788. Quarto, contemporary brown tree calf gilt rebacked to match original spine, red and green morocco spine labels, original marbled endpapers.

First edition of the first biography of Captain James Cook, with frontispiece portrait by James Heath, bound in contemporary tree calf boards.

“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). Bound with the half title. Beddie 1962. Howgego C176.

Text generally fine, some foxing to frontispiece, contemporary calf quite boards with light expert restoration.

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