GEORGE VANCOUVER (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 accurately 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. 3 text volumes, 4° (299 x 238mm) and 2° atlas volume (545 x 430mm). Text with one map and 17 engraved plates by William Alexander from drawings by J. Sykes, dedication, advertisement leaf, lists of plates and half-titles to vol. I, III, errata leaves. (Without list of plates or half-title to vol. II, some light spotting to plates, mostly at margins, name eradicated from head of titles.) 20th-century half red morocco over marbled boards, spines gilt in compartments and lettered in 2, morocco hinges. Atlas with 10 double-page folding maps and 6 engraved plates of coastal profiles, bound on stubs. (Endpapers removed, plates dampstained at upper corner and inner margin.) 19th-century half calf over marbled boards, spine with gilt roan lettering-piece (rubbed).
FIRST EDITION of the grand-scale expedition to establish Britain's territorial rights in the Pacific Northwest following the Nootka Convention of 1790. Vancouver, who had served on Cook's second and third voyages, commanded the voyage for the Admiralty with precise instructions to thoroughly examine the coast south of 60° for a North-West Passage and to investigate any settlements established there by other nations. It resulted in one of the most important voyages ever made in the interests of geographical knowledge. Vancouver made the first survey of the west coast of Australia since Dampier nearly one hundred years earlier, and discovered Cape Hood and King George III Sound on the unknown southwest coast. In New Zealand, Chatham Island was discovered, as were the Morioris who are interestingly described, and in Hawaii Vancouver restored relations with Kamehameha I and obtained a 'cession' of the islands which England never chose to ratify. For the next three years he surveyed the California coast, calling at San Francisco and Monterey, settled with the Spanish at Nootka, discovered the Strait of Georgia, surveyed Puget Sound and the Alaska coast, sailed the Inside Passage, and claimed to disprove the existence of any passage between the Pacific Ocean and Hudson's Bay. He died before completing the narrative which was prepared for publication by his brother John and by his shipmate Capt. Peter Puget. Hill 1753; Lada-Mocarski 55; Ferguson 281; Hawaiian National Bibliography 298; Sabin 98443. (4)