HEARNE, Samuel (1745-1792). A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay, to the Northern Ocean. Undertaken by Order of The Hudson's Bay Company, for the Discovery of Copper Mines, A North West Passage, &c. In the Years 1769, 1770, 1771, & 1772. London: Printed for A. Strahan and T. Cadell for T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1795.
4o (300 x 250 mm). Four engraved folding maps and plans and four engraved plates, three double-page. (Very slight occasional spotting, generally very clean.) Modern brown half morocco, marbled boards, by Krumin.
FIRST EDITION, A FINE, TALL COPY OF HEARNE'S WORK ON THE EXPLORATION OF THE COPPERMINE RIVER. Hearne was the first man to travel overland to the Arctic Ocean and he discovered Great Slave Lake. The navigator Jean François Lapérouse, who captured Fort Albany on Hudson Bay, discovered Hearne's manuscript and negotiated for its publication. "Nothing can be more vivid than his descriptions of their savage customs, their brutal indifference to their own as well as others' sufferings, and their horrible massacres of rival tribes" (Field). Hearne's narrative is particularly noteworthy for its candid perceptiveness and graphic descriptions: "When I was on my passage from Cumberland House to York Fort, two boys killed a fine buck moose in the water, by forcing a stick up its fundament; for they had neither gun, bow, nor arrows with them." Peter C. Newman writes in Empire of the Bay (2000): "That painfully honest chronicle of his epic journey -- published twenty-three years later as A Journey from Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean [sic] -- turned out to be as important a legacy as the journey iteself. The perceptiveness that allowed Hearne to view each new experience without the inhibitions of his time made his diary a classic in the literature of northern discovery" (p.232). Field 676; Hill p.141; Lande 1220; Sabin 31181; Staton & Tremaine/TPL 445.