Discoveries of the French in 1768 and 1769 to the South-East of New Guinea, With the Subsequent Visits to the Same lands by English Navigators, Who Gave them New Names. To which is prefixed, an historical abridgement of the voyages and discoveries of the
Publisher: John Stockdale
[iii]-xxiv+323 pages. Lacking leaf a1 (half-title?). With 9 copper-engraved charts, 2 plates of coastal views and profiles, and 1 plate of arms and instruments, all folding. Quarto (11 3/4 x 9 1/4"), 20th century calf-backed (marbled) boards with vellum corners, spine gilt-lettered on green morocco label, raised bands ruled in gilt. (Hill 611) First Edition in English.
Translation of Fleureiu's Découvertes des François en 1768 & 1769, dans le Sud-Ést de la Nouvelle Guinée..., (1790).
Charles Pierre Claret, comte de Fleurieu was a French explorer, hydrographer and politician. He was Minister of the Navy under Louis XVI, and a member of the Institut de France, as well as the brother of the botanist Marc Antoine Louis Claret de la Tourette. Fleurieu was born in Lyon. Engaged in the Toulon company of the Garde-marine from the age of 13 and a half on 31 October 1755, he subsequently took part in the campaigns of the Seven Years' War— which ended in 1763— participating in the battles of Mahon, Lagos, and Les Sablettes and rising to brigadier in the gardes de la marine company, and then enseigne de vaisseau. He took part in a one-year sea campaign to test Berthoud's first marine chronometer, in an attempt to beat Britain in the race to find a reliable way to calculate longitude. The chronometers he thus refined with Ferdinand Berthoud for their later experiments were the object of major struggles with the king's horologer, Pierre Le Roy. Finally Claret de Fleurieu and Berthoud were entrusted with the task, setting out on the testing expedition from autumn 1768 to 11 October 1769 on the frigate Isis under Fleurieu's command. The chronometers almost invariably indicated the hour as accurately after the ship had left port, as if they were still on land. Knowing the actual local time at each present location by astronomy, they could easily determine the ship's exact position and longitude on a chart. The results of their observations was published in 1773 under the title Voyage fait par ordre du roi, pour éprouver les horloges marines ("Voyage made by order of the king, to test marine chronometers"). We can also cite among his major works le Neptune du Nord or l'Atlas du Cattegat et de la Baltique, an atlas of the Kattegat and the Baltic Sea that took him 25 years. (Wikipedia).
Binding near fine; a few stains and spots within, fore-edge of last leaf trimmed else very good or better.
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