CHARLES PIERRE CLARET, COMTE DE FLEURIEU (1738-1810)
Découvertes des François, en 1768 & 1769, dans le sud-est de la Nouvelle Guinée et Reconnoissances postérieurs des mêmes Terres par les Navigateurs Anglois qui leur ont imposé de nouveaux noms; précédées de l'Abrégé historique des Navigations & des Découvertes des Espagnols dans les mêmes Parages. Paris: l'Imprimerie Royale, 1790. 4° (258 x 197mm). 12 folding engraved maps and charts, directions to binder and errata. (One map a little frayed at outer margin, pencilled underlinings on first 40 leaves.) Contemporary tree calf gilt, boards with palmette borders, spine gilt in compartments, gilt morocco lettering-piece in one, marbled edges (extremities a little rubbed and chipped, skilfully rebacked, endpapers renewed). Provenance: neat pencilled annotations and notes on rear flyleaf in French -- occasional underlinings and annotations in blue crayon.
FIRST EDITION of a respected but fervent work promoting the nts of French explorers in the South Seas, especially Bougainville and Surville, over those of English explorers, most particularly in the Solomon Islands. Fleurieu's history of the discovery and re-discovery of the Solomons covers the voyages of Mendaña in 1567 to Bougainville in 1768, Surville in 1769 and Shortland in 1788. He further chronicles the originality of other French discoveries, in the New Hebrides, New Ireland, New Caledonia and the Santa Cruz group, from printed and manuscript accounts in Spanish and English. The interesting maps are of actual discoveries or are based on the author's theories, and the appendix by Buache is on the existence and exact position of the Solomon Islands. During Fleurieu's long naval career he was renowned as a strategist, historian, cartographer and marine horologist, and his theories were more than confirmed by D'Entrecasteaux's unsuccessful voyage in search of La Pérouse. Hill 610; Kropelien 436; Ferguson 81; Sabin 24748.