First edition. Three volumes. , xxxvi, , [1, blank], [458, numbered 678, omitting 140-360]; [1, blank], xv, , (1)-410; ,(411) -799, [1, blank] pp. . With the bookplate of Thomas Erskine [of] Linlathen (1788-1870) in each volume. Erskine was an outstanding revisionary and constructive lay theologian in the early part of the 19th century and was, with his good friend the Reverend John Mcleod Campbell, one of Scotland's most important nineteenth century constructive theologians.
London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773. Illustrated with engraved plates and charts (some folding) all in clean and crisp condition, no tears or brown spots, with the exception of "Hawkin's Maidenland" which is a little browned with some spotting in right margin, and "Queen Charlotte Island" bound upside down at p. 578 not 577 as called for in volume I, also lacking (as is usual in the first edition) "Chart of the Streights of Magellan" ; volume II is missing "Chart of New Zealand" at p. 281; all plates and charts in volume III are present and in fine condition.
Quarto [leaf size 28.5 x 23 cm), three-quarter brown calf over marbled boards, gilt lettered spine labels in red and green morocco, all edges sprinkled, marbled endpapers. Spines a bit rubbed with slight loss of leather at top of volume I, covers slightly rubbed, some moderate water staining primarily in lower margin only affecting a few leaves in volume I, moderate waterstain about 3/4 height of first 11 leaves in inner margins of volume II, very minor waterstain upper right margin affecting 4 leaves of volume III, spine labels lacking on volume III; leaf 557/558 with small closed tear in right margin.
"On his first voyage, 25 August 1768 to 12 July 1771, Cook circumnavigated New Zealand and for the first time explored the east coast of Australia…of which he took possession for Great Britain; he also sailed through the straits separating New Guinea and Australia. On the second, and historically most important, voyage (13 July 1772 to 30 July 1775) he began by cruising as far south as possible around the edge of the antarctic ice. He again visited New Zealand and, cruising through the Pacific, discovered, or explored again, many of the islands, in particular New Caledonia, Palmerston and Norfolk Islands, Easter Island, the Marquesas, New Hebrides, Tonga, the South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia. "The third voyage (11 July 1776 to 4 October 1780) was undertaken to find the North-West Passage from Europe to the East. After again visiting Tasmania, New Zealand and many Pacific Islands, Cook sailed on to North America, discovering on the way the Cook Islands and the Hawaiian group. He charted the North American coast from Oregon as far north as the Bering Strait, where ice turned him back. On the way back the great explorer was killed [in 1779] in a fight with natives in Hawaii. "Cook earned his place in history by opening up the Pacific to western civilization and by the foundation of British Australia. The world was given for the first time an essentially complete knowledge of the Pacific Ocean and Australia, and Cook proved once and for all that there was no great southern continent, as had always been believed. He also suggested the existence of antarctic land in the southern ice ring, a fact which was not proved until the explorations of the nineteenth century. "Cook was a brilliant navigator and hydrographer, and excellent administrator and planner, and probably the first sea captain to realize the importance of preserving the health and well-being of his crew" (Printing and the Mind of Man). These voyages of discovery were also the first to carry illustrations by professional artists (notably Parkinson, Hodges, and Webber). The volumes are justly famous for their splendid plates, many of which were engraved by Bartolozzi. [Hill p. 139. See also PMM 223].