VANCOUVER, George (1757-1798) A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World; in which the coast of north-west America has been carefully examined and acccurately surveyed. Undertaken by His Majesty's Command, principally with a view to ascertain the existence of any navigable communication between the north Pacific and north Atlantic oceans; and performed in the years 1790-1795, in the Discovery sloop of war, and the armed tender Chatham. London: G.G. and J. Robinson, and J. Edwards, 1798.
4 volumes, 4° (297 x 230mm) and broadsheets (546 x 418 mm). Half-titles in text volumes. 34 engraved plates and maps, comprising: 17 engraved plates after W. Alexander by J. Landseer, J. Fittler and others and one engraved chart in text volumes; atlas with 6 engraved plates and 10 charts (all folding). (Some variable spotting and browning to text vol. plates, together with some offsetting to text in vols. II & III; G3 in Vol. I with 20mm tear to upper margin; atlas vol. plates 2, 4, 6, 9 and 16 dampstained to margin of top left corner.) Contemporary polished calf, boards with a gilt scroll tool border, spines elaborately gilt, morocco spine labels (boards slightly crazed with some slight surface loss to vol. III, joints rubbed, light wear to spine ends). Provenance: Francis Ferrand Foljambe (stamp on titles).
FIRST EDITION of one of the most difficult geographical surveys ever undertaken. Vancouver's Voyage ranks among the most important in exploration literature. Vancouver had served on Captain Cook's second and third voyages and was made commander of a large-scale expedition to reestablish British rights. The Nootka Convention established that the expedition would examine and chart the coast south to 60° in search of a passage to the Atlantic. 'This voyage became one of the most important ever made in the interests of geographical knowledge' (Hill). Beginning from England in 1791 and sailing round Australia, Vancouver discovered King George's Sound and Cape Hood. In three seasons, he surveyed the coast of California, visited San Francisco and San Diego, met with the Spanish at Nootka, investigated the Strait of Juan de Fuca, discovered the Strait of Georgia, circumnavigated Vancouver Island and disproved the existence of a passage between the Pacific and Hudson's Bay. Vancouver died en route. The present work was published by his brother John with the assistance of Captain Peter Puget. 'This is one of the most important voyages for the history and the cartography of the northwest coast in general and of Alaska in particular' (Lada-Mocarski). Hill 1753; Howes V23; Lada-Mocarski 55; Lande 1495; NMM 142; Sabin 98443; Staton & Tremaine/TPL 688; Wagner I, pp.239-50. (4)