LOUIS ANTOINE, COMTE DE BOUGAINVILLE (1729-1811)
Voyage au tour du Monde par la Frégate du Roi, La Boudeuse, et la Flûte l'Étoile; en 1766, 1767, 1768 & 1769. Paris: Le Breton for Saillant & Nyon, 1771. 4° (275 x 210mm.). Half-title. 20 folding engraved maps and charts, 3 plates (1 folding), uncut. (Occasional browning and small tears to folds.) Original blue paper-covered boards (neat repairs to backstrip), 20th-century brown morocco-backed cloth box.
Lord Camoys (Stonor Park, Oxon., armorial bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. A FINE UNSOPHISTICATED COPY OF THE OFFICIAL ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST FRENCH CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF THE WORLD. Bougainville sailed from Nantes in November 1766, and travelling via the Falkland Ilands and Buenos Aires, travelled through the Strait of Magellan, across the Pacific to the East Indies and then home. 'The expedition visited the Tuamotu Archpelago, Tahiti, the Samoa Islands, the New Hebrides, and the Solomon, Louisiade, and New Britain archipelagos. There is a long description of Tahiti, observations concerning the natives, and a vocabulary of 300 words used on the island given at the end of the volume [the first published attempt at a vocabulary of any Polynesian language]. Although he made only a few important discoveries, Bougainville created a great deal of interest among the French in the Pacific, which resulted in the voyages of Nicholas Marion du Fresne and Jean Françios de Lapérouse... This account confirmed Jean Jacques Rousseau's "noble savage" concept, and inspired Denis Diderot to pen his denunciation of European contact with indigenous peoples' (Hill). Hill p.31; Sabin 6864; Spence 157.