BURNEY, James, 1750-1821.
London : Printed by Luke Hansard, ... and sold by G. and W. Nicol ... 1803-17. First edition. Five volumes, quarto, recased using the original marbled papered boards, spines with raised bands, lettered in gilt Pacific Ocean / Burney and with volume numbers also stamped in gilt, each volume with the original marbled endpapers preserved, and discreet stamps of the King's Inn Library, Dublin; , xii, , 391 pp plus five folding maps; v, , 482 pp, plus six maps (five folding) and four plates; , 437 pp, plus ten maps (two folding) and nine plates; xviii, 580 pp plus four maps (three folding); vii, , 178, , 179-237 pp plus two maps (one folding) and folding plate; 6 woodcuts in text; a small amount of scattered foxing across the five volumes, but a very good set of a rare work, which Hill describes as "the most important general history of early South Sea discoveries containing practically everything of importance on the subject." Ferguson 372; Sabin 9387; Hill 221.
Burney sailed on the second and third voyages of Cook, and his ability to undertake the task of writing this monumental work was to a large extent enabled by Sir Joseph Banks, who granted him access to his personal library. The history spans two and a half centuries of Pacific exploration, from Magellan to Bougainville, and includes accounts of the voyages made by navigators of all the European maritime powers: Part 1. Commencing with an account of the earliest discovery of that sea by Europeans, and terminating with the voyage of Sir Franicis Drake, in 1579; pt. 2. 1579-1620; pt. 3. 1620-1688; pt. 4. To the year 1723, including a history of the buccaneers of America; pt. 5. To the year 1764.
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