JAMES CLARK ROSS (1800-1862)
A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions, during the years 1839-43. London: Spottiswoode and Shaw for John Murray, 1847. 2 volumes, 8° (258 x 138mm). 8 lithographic plates, one folding, 7 engraved maps, 2 folding, and 18 wood-engraved vignettes. (Frontispieces lightly offset onto titles.) Contemporary polished calf, boards with borders of gilt double rules, spines gilt in compartments, gilt morocco lettering-pieces in 2, others decorated in gilt, marbled edges (some rubbing and chipping, rebacked retaining original spines).
FIRST EDITION OF THE CORNERSTONE OF ANTARCTIC LITERATURE. The British Naval Expedition on which Ross commanded HMS Erebus and Francis Crozier commanded the Terror circumnavigated the Antarctic continent and was the first to force a way through the ice pack of the Ross Sea. The ships discovered and roughly charted 900 kilometers of new coastline in Victoria Land, discovered Mount Erebus, Ross Island and Ross Ice Shelf, and surveyed Joinville, James Ross and Franklin islands. Also on the voyage were surgeons Joseph Dalton Hooker and Robert McCormick, who included this voyage in the compendium of his own voyages in 1884. Further surveys were made in the South Shetland Islands, the Îles Crozet, Kerguelen and Auckland Islands as well as the Chathams, the Falklands and Tierra del Fuego. Ross devotes some pages to a criticism of Charles Wilkes' claim in 1845 to have proven the 'continental character' of Antarctica on his voyage and includes a portion of the log of John Baleny in the Eliza Scott in the Antarctic in 1839. Ross was a veteran polar navigator by 1839, having sailed on Parry's Arctic voyages (1819-1825) and with his uncle, Sir John Ross, on his Arctic voyage (1829-1833). Although some of Ross's contemporaries found his account dry, it remains 'a monument to one of mankind's greatest expeditions of geographical and scientific exploration' (Rosove). Rosove 276; Conrad p. 61; Headland 689; Hill 1487.