Voyages dans la Mer du Sud, par les Espagnols et les Hollandois. Taduit de l'anglois

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Author: Dalrymple, Alexander (1737-1808)

Year: 1774

Publisher: Saillant & Nyon and Pissot

Place: Paris


xvi+502+[2 dedication] pages with tables, three folding maps of Robert de Vaugondy and engraved by E. Dussyat at back and ribbon book mark. Octavo (8 1/4" x 5 1/4") bound in full period leather with five raised bands with red label and gilt lettering to spine with gilt decorative vignettes to spine compartments. Covers with gilt ruled edges. (Sabin 18344; Du Rietz 246; Hill 392) First French edition.

Alexander Dalrymple was a Scottish geographer and the first Hydrographer of the British Admiralty. He was the main proponent of the theory that there existed a vast undiscovered continent in the South Pacific, Terra Australis Incognita. He produced thousands of nautical charts, mapping a remarkable number of seas and oceans for the first time, and contributing significantly to the safety of shipping. His theories prompted a number of expeditions in search of this mythical land, until James Cook's second journey (1772–1775) led to the conclusion that, if it did exist, it was further south than the 65° line of latitude South. When translating some Spanish documents captured in the Philippines in 1762, Dalrymple had found Torres's testimony proving a passage south of New Guinea; he now showed Torres's route of 1606 on a chart in his An Account of the Discoveries Made in The South Pacifick Ocean, Previous to 1764 (London, 1767). In this work he declared his belief in the existence of a great southern continent, extending into low latitudes in the Pacific; more important, he brought Torres's route to the notice of Joseph Banks. In 1768 it was suggested that Dalrymple should lead the expedition being sent to the Pacific to observe the transit of Venus but his insistence that he should command the vessel was contrary to Admiralty regulations. However, his book provided James Cook with valuable knowledge for his successful navigation of Torres Strait. In his major work, An Historical Collection of the Several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean (London, 1770), Dalrymple continued to insist that a great southern continent existed. By circumnavigating New Zealand, Cook on his first voyage had imposed severe limitations on this hypothesis, and on his second voyage in 1772-75, he completely disproved it; nevertheless Dalrymple's writings had done much to maintain official interest in Pacific exploration.


Light rubbing to extremities else a very nice copy.

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