New Arrival

A Journal of a Voyage round the World in His Majesty's Ship Endeavour, in the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, and 1771; Undertaken in Pursuit of Natural Knowledge of the Royal Society: containing All the various Occurrences of the Voyage ... to which are added a Concise Vocabulary of the Language of Otahitee.

London: Printed for T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, in the Strand, 1771.

Price: $22,500.00


About the item

First Edition, first issue. [2],ii,130,[3]pp. 4to. Early half calf and marbled paper boards, worn at extremities and top and tail of spine; Minor worming in upper margin. Bookplate removed from front pastedown. Sabin 16242; Mitchell Library Cook 693; Holmes 3; Hill 1066; Beddie 693; Davidson, pp.53-54; Streeter sale 2405. CBEL II: 1479; Beaglehole I, pp.cclvi-cclxiv; Hocken, p.9. Kroepelien 215; O'Reilly-Reitman 362.

Item #367085

The first published account of Cook's first voyage, and thus the first appearance of any narrative of this epochal voyage. As such, it is the first published account of discoveries made during the voyage, including New Zealand and the east coast of Australia. The narrative was issued two years before the official account by Hawkesworth. As it was printed anonymously shortly after the return of the Endeavor and without authorization, the question of authorship has plagued bibliographers for some time. Beaglehole and other Cook authorities seem to agree that the author was the American sailor, James Magra. Others insist on attributing the work to Richard Orton and William Parry, or to Solander and Banks.

"It is the first work chronologically in a bibliography of Cook..." (Hill). "The importance of this work cannot be overstated as it is not only the first published account of the voyage but it is also an interesting narrative of the expedition...[The first issue] is of the greatest rarity, and copies of the book containing the dedication are far more valuable than those without it" (Davidson, A Book Collector's Notes (Melbourne, 1970). "Magra is the best voyage book"- Derek McDonnell.

This is the extremely rare first issue (the "Becket" issue), with a dedication leaf to the Lords of the Admiralty. This leaf gave the impression that the publication was sanctioned by the Lords, which it was not, and was suppressed. Thus, the second issue lacks the dedication leaf. An exceedingly important travel account, and extremely rare in its unsuppressed state.