LA PÉROUSE, Jean Francois de Galaup, Comte de. (1741-1788) Voyage de La Pérouse autour du monde, publié conformément au décret du 22 Avril 1791, et rédidé par... Millet-Mureau. Paris: Imprimeries de la République, An V (1796-1797).
4 text volumes, 4to (293 x 225 mm.) and atlas folio (425 x 275 mm). Half-titles. Engraved frontispiece portrait of La Perouse in the first text volume and 70 engraved plates in the atlas, including engraved title-page. (Some scattered foxing and spotting, generally clean and fresh.) Text bound in contemporary mottled calf gilt, red and green morocco lettering-pieces (some rubbing); atlas in later half calf gilt. Provenance: T.R. Swinburne (armorial bookplates in text volumes).
FIRST EDITION of the text volumes, atlas from the 1799 London edition of A. Hamilton for G.G. and J. Robinson.
The two frigates Astrolabe and Boussole under La Pérouse's command left France in 1785 to explore the Pacific, particularly the regions unexamined by Captain Cook and the West Coast of North America. This was the first French expedition to visit Alaska and the first European non-Spanish expedition to stay at the Spanish settlements in California. La Pérouse also visited Easter Island, Hawaii, Macao, Formosa, Samoa, Tonga and Australia. In 1788 he sailed from Botany Bay and was lost at sea. Although a number of missions were dispatched in an effort to find La Perouse, nothing was discovered until thirty nine years later when the wrecks of his ships were found on the reef of Vanikolo in the Santa Cruz islands of Melanesia. The voyage of La Perouse is especially regarded for its superb mapping of the Alaskan and Californian coasts. Maps include San Diego, Monterey, and the whole of the Northwest coast. "It is one of the finest narratives of maritime exploration ever written, and certainly deserves to hold a place of high honor among the great travel accounts of the 18th century." (Howell); Ferguson 251; Hill, p.173; Sabin 38960; Street sale VI, 3493. (5)