La Perouse, J. F. G. de: A VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD, performed in the Years 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, by the Boussole and Astrolabe, under the Command of J. F. G. de la Perouse: Published by Order of the National Assembly, under the Superintendence of L. A. Milet-Mureau, Brigadier-General in the Corps of Engineers, Director of Fortifications, Member of the Constituent Assembly, and Fellow of several literary Societies at Paris. In two volumes. Illustrated by a variety of charts and plates, in a separate folio volume. Translated from the French. Vol. I. [Vol. II]. London: Printed by A. Hamilton, for G. G. and J. Robinson, Paternoster-Row; J. Edwards, Pall-Mall; and T. Payne, Mews-Gate, Castle-Street. 1799. 2 vols., med. 4to (text), & 1 vol., demy folio (atlas of charts & plates); First 4to (and Best) Edition in English; Vol. I, pp. [viii], lvi(Introduction by the Editor & Contents), 540(last blank); Vol. II, pp. viii, 532(last blank - see footnote re collation); [14](index), [2](Errata to both vols., verso blank); Atlas, pp. [iv] comprising engraved decorated title-page (verso blank): "CHARTS AND PLATES TO LA PEROUSE'S VOYAGE. Published as the Act directs Novr. First. 1798, by G. G. & J. Robinson, Pater-noster Row." and double-page LIST OF THE CHARTS AND PLATES TO LA PEROUSE'S VOYAGE, 69 charts & plates, numbered 1 to 69, and comprising 1 large folding World Chart, hand-coloured in outline, 20 double-page & 10 full-page charts, & 38 plates depicting views of places visited, native populations, natural history, coastline views, etc.; (seven of the plates - of which 6 depict native watercraft - carry two illustrations each); text volumes bound in contemporary full russia with marbled endpapers and gilt dentelles (Volume I neatly rebacked, with original backstrip preserved; joints to Volume II a little worn and front hinge cracked, but cords firm); Atlas bound in half blue morocco with all charts and plates entirely uncut and nice clean impressions; a very nice, generally clean and crisp set, complete with the very rare list of charts and plates; very scarce. London; G. G. and J. Robinson [etc.]; 1798-99.
***Hill (2nd Edn.), 975; Ferguson 288 (collation most inadequate); Forbes 311; McLaren (Laperouse) 10. In Volume II there is a hiatus in the pagination - Pp. 241-248 are omitted from the pagination, but the text is complete, as examination readily shows, pp. 238-40 & page 249 covering period May 8-20, May 21-June 5 without any gap. There are also in Volume II additional gatherings, marked with asterisk, as follows:- (a) Following page 304 (end of 2Q) additional gathering signed *2Q, paginated *297-*304. (b) Following page 312 (end of 2R) additional gathering signed *2R, paginated *305-*312. (c) Following page 320 (end of 2S): additional gathering signed *2S, paginated *313-*320. These irregularities of pagination are typical of all copies we have seen.

This copy of the Atlas includes the large World Chart (No. 1) often lacking, together with the particularly rare List of the Charts and Plates to the Atlas (of the references consulted only the NMM Catalogue [Volume III, No. 242] and Forbes (311) mention this leaf and the facsimile by Nico Israel does not contain it).

Laperouse's voyage with the frigates Astrolabe and Boussole made valuable contributions to the discovery and exploration of the Pacific and the North West coast of America and the expedition visited numerous islands in the Pacific including Samoa, Tonga and Australia. The scientific contributions in the fields of natural history and anthropology were also of great importance, and the expedition was noteworthy for the scientific experiments undertaken on board, in particular concerning the preservation and sterilisation of drinking water which to some degree anticipated the researches of Pasteur.

Despatches were made to France from Kamchatka, whence de Lesseps returned overland, and also from Botany Bay where the expedition arrived within days of the First Fleet. After leaving Botany Bay however both ships disappeared without trace and were not found until 1827 when Peter Dillon discovered the wrecks on the reefs of Vanikoro in the Santa Cruz group. #67358

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