Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2009 Issue

Cook's Final Voyage from Hordern House

Horderncooksfinal

Engraving of Captain Clerke's arrival at Kamchatka on catalogue's cover.

The latest catalogue from Australia's Hordern House is entitled Courage and Perseverance. Cook's Final Voyage. This refers to the third and final voyage of Captain James Cook. Cook was likely England's greatest explorer. Between 1768 and 1775, he spent most of his time at sea, primarily exploring the Pacific. He did much of the early charting of Australia, New Zealand, and numerous Pacific islands. It was Cook who laid to rest the widely held belief of the time that there existed an enormous continent to the south. Cook was not one to rest on his laurels, so in 1776, just as the American Revolution was breaking, he set out on his third, and what would prove to be final voyage. He did not return.

The third voyage would bring him back to his haunts around Australia and the Pacific, but this time there was another, hidden purpose. It was to discover the long sought Northwest Passage that was hoped would drastically reduce sailing time from England to the Pacific. On his way, Cook became the first European to reach Hawaii, and then he sailed on for North America. He explored the Northwest coast of that continent before winding his way to the Bering Sea. As happened to so many others, he was unable to go any farther because of the ice. His failure to find a Northwest Passage was no shame. No one else did for centuries either, and even then it was not a practical route. Cook then returned to Hawaii and its more hospitable climate, but eventually, something went terribly wrong with his previous good relations with the natives and Cook was stabbed to death. His companions made one more unsuccessful run to the Bering Sea to find the passage before retreating to Pacific Russia and finally home. Hordern House is offering 111 items related to Cook's final voyage. Here are a few.

One of the rules of Cook's voyages was that no one was to publish accounts until after the official version was released. This rule was honored only in the breach. The final voyage generated several accounts before the official version. Item 10 is John Rickman's Journal of Captain Cook's Last Voyage to the Pacific Ocean...in the Years 1776...1779... This was the first account published in English, and it was issued anonymously to avoid repercussions from the Admiralty. Rickman was a lieutenant on the voyage and his account is important historically as it differs on many points from the official one. It provides the first authentic description in English of Hawaii, including the first representation of the islands in its image of the death of Cook. Published in 1781. Priced at AU $14,000 (Australian dollars, or approximately $12,923 U.S. dollars).

Another who jumped the gun was Heinrich Zimmermann. Zimmermann was a carpenter who signed on as an ordinary sailor, so his account offers the unique perspective of one who served below deck. He published his account in German in 1781, which was quickly followed by editions in French and Russian. Oddly, though this was an English voyage, there was no contemporary translation to the English language. Item 19 is a first English edition of Zimmermann's Account of the Third Voyage of Captain Cook, but it was not published until 1926. AU $485 (US $446).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.

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