The First Appearance in Dutch of Cook's Three Voyages


(Leyden, Amsterdam, and The Hague: Honkoop, Allart and Van Cleef, 1795-1809). 222 x 133 mm. (8 3/4 x 5 1/4"). 14 volumes (13 volumes of text, plus index). Translated by J. D. Pasteur. First Edition in Dutch.

Contemporary half calf over marbled boards, spines with orange morocco titling label and circular green morocco volume label (one volume expertly rebacked, using the original backstrip). WITH 199 ENGRAVINGS, including 13 title pages, 52 folding maps by C. van Baarsch, and 134 plates (mostly folding) by J. S. Klauber. First title page with paste-over at bottom presumably indicating a (late 19th century?) bookseller (this paste-over torn away in second volume and obscured by a second paste-over in the other volumes). Beddie 52; Tiele 268. Some chafing and abrasions to paper covers, a small chip at the top of one spine, minor wear to joints, half the corners worn, but all of the volumes solid, and nothing approaching a serious external condition issue. Separation at hinges on all but two volumes (without any looseness), a few half titles vaguely soiled, the single-page plates faintly offset, two volumes with inoffensive freckled foxing to plate margins, but still AN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE SET INTERNALLY, the plates especially rich, and the text unusually bright, fresh, and clean.

This is a very desirable copy, with remarkably well-preserved text and plates, of the extremely uncommon first Dutch edition of the collected accounts of the three great voyages by James Cook, voyages of exploration that provided the world for the first time with a virtually complete understanding of the Pacific Ocean and Australia. The son of a field worker, Cook (1728-79) began his career at sea as a ship's apprentice. Joining the British navy in 1755, he saw action against the French off the Canadian coast, and surveyed the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador. Having educated himself in mathematics and astronomy, Cook was made lieutenant and put in charge of a scientific expedition that reached Tahiti in 1769, and that explored New Zealand and Australia, the first of his three expeditions circumnavigating the globe. In the course of his second circumnavigation, he was at sea for more than 1,000 days, and saw the ice of Antarctica. For his third and most famous voyage, his crew set sail in two ships, and while proceeding northeast from Tahiti with the aim of discovering a Northwest Passage, they came upon the Hawaiian Islands. There, one of his rowboats was stolen, and Cook responded by seizing the person of the Hawaiian king to compel the boat's return. In the fracas that ensued, Cook received a fatal blow. Our set contains the life of Cook and the first voyage (1768-71) in volumes I-III, the second voyage (1772-75) in volumes IV-VII, and the third voyage (1776-80) in volumes VIII-XIII. Peddie says that the Dutch edition, which is probably based on the German printing of 1781, is seen with an atlas volume, but the present set has all of the plates bound in, as is often the case. The plates are printed on especially thick, textured paper, and this copy has none of the expected tears at plate folds. ABPC and RBH record just four complete copies of this set sold since 1975 (all at Australian or European auctions). When it does appear, it is almost always in terrible shape.

Price: $7,000.00