Dalrymple’s important collection of Spanish and Dutch voyages – the summation of knowledge of the Pacific when Cook departed on his First Voyage and was in the course of publication when the Endeavour returned to England.
‘Dalrymple’s interest moved to the hypothetical southern continent in 1776 and 1777, so as to develop his knowledge of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, in order to continue his pursuit of China trade, on which he been snubbed by the East India Company in 1765 and 1766’ (Andrew Cook). ‘An Historical Collection was intended to stir up enthusiasm for the project of discovering and exploring the great southern continent (Terra Australis Incognita)… Although most of the first volume is composed of narratives of Spanish explorers of the South Pacific, Dalrymple also included navigational information on the South Seas and the Solomon Islands, and some of his own observations of the natural curiosities of Sulu… The narrative included, among others, the voyages of Magellan, Ferdinand Grijalva, Juan Fernandes (whom Dalrymple identified as the discoverer of the great southern continent), Adelanto Alvarado Mendana de Neyras, and Pedro Fernandez de Quiroz. Dalrymple did not wish for or anticipate a British conquest of the new continent. His vision of British oceanic expansion was based on trade rather than conquest and colonization… The second volume was devoted to Dutch voyagers [and] includes accounts of the voyages of Le Mair and Schouten in 1616, Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642, and Jacob Roggeswein in 1722’ (Speake, Literature of Travel and Exploration, p306).
The privately printed first issue of 1769 is exceedingly rare, and there are only a few copies extant. The second issue has a new title page dated 1770 but retains the 1769 dedication; the third issue has the dedication changed to 1 January 1770.
First edition, third state (of four). 4to, 2 vols in one, xxx, [ii], [xxiv], 204 pp., [iv pp. errata]; [iv], [ii (advert)], 20, 24, 124 pp., [viii (vocabulary)], [xii], [xl pp. index], half-titles, 4 engraved maps and 12 plates, modern period-style calf gilt, green morocco label, by Bernard Middleton, previous owner’s ink inscription to title, an excellent example.
Frederick E. Ellis (bookplate to front pastedown, signature to title-page).
Cook, A11-12; Holmes (1), 32; Kroepelien, 245; Sabin, 18338.
Stock ID: 98338