5 December 2008,
New York, Rockefeller Plaza
Price Realised USD 10,000
BURNEY, James, Capt. (1750-1821). A Chronological History of the Discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean. London: Printed by Luke Hansard for G. and W. Nicol, 1803-1817.
5 volumes, 4o (278 x 218 mm). Complete with 28 engraved maps (17 folding), 13 engraved plates (one folding), and 6 engravings in the text. (Some spotting, O3 in volume one with a small tear in the gutter affecting the text, corners renewed the last few leaves of volume 4.) Modern half calf antique. Provenance: one or two later marginal pencilled annotations in volume five.
THE MOST IMPORTANT GENERAL HISTORY OF SOUTH SEA DISCOVERIES MADE BEFORE JAMES COOK
FIRST EDITION. Burney was the commander of Discovery who brought the ship home after Cook's death in 1779. Voyages related are those of the earliest Europeans to that of Francis Drake in 1579 (in volume one), with a separate "History of the Buccaneers of America" in volume 4, and completed to 1764 in volume 5. Burney became a great authority on maritime history, having served the whole of his professional life in the navy and on Cook's second and third voyages. Through his access to the London literary world he collected the voyages for this work, and wrote important remarks on them which a contemporary review called "a masterly digest of the voyages to the South Sea, displaying a rare union of nautical science and literary research" (Hill 221); Cox II, p. 497; Sabin 9387. (5)
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