“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 full diced calf gilt expertly rebacked with original gilt-decorated spine laid down, marbled endpapers and edges. $8500.
First edition of the first biography of Captain James Cook, with frontispiece portrait.
"This work contains an admirable precis of the three voyages, with valuable information from the original sources. It introduces most of Samwell's Narrative 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). Beddie 1962. Engraved armorial bookplate (Belmore, Ireland), bookseller's small ticket.
Interior wide-margined and generally quite clean with only occasional light foxing. Contemporary calf gilt very handsome.