"The Most Important of All Books
Abel Du Petit-Thouars. Voyage Autour du Monde sur la
Frégate la Vénus pendant les années 1836-1839,
publié par ordre du Roi, sous les auspices du Ministre de la
Marine, par M. Abel du Petit-Thouars, Capitaine de vaisseau,
Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur. Paris: Gide, 1840-1845.
[Together with:] Voyage autour du Monde sur la Frégate La Vénus,
pendant les années 1836-1839, publié par ordre du Roi, sous les
auspices du ministre de la marine...Atlas Pittoresque. Paris:
Gide, Éditeur, 1841.
Relating to the History of California
during the Mexican Period"
First edition. Four octavo volumes (approximately 9 x 5.875 inches; 230 x 149 mm.) plus elephant folio atlas volume (21 x 13.375 inches; 533 x 343 mm.). , xliv, 402; , 464; , 490, [2, table]; , 178 pages. Last gathering in Volume III misbound. Volume I with five tables (three folding); Volume II with one table; Volume III with five tables (three folding); and Volume IV with one large folding table at end. Atlas volume with sixty-eight fine lithographed plates printed by Thierry Frères, Paris, including seventeen hand-colored lithographed costume plates by P. (or F.) Blanchard, after Massenet Frères, and Mesnard; twenty-six lithographed views on India paper mounted, by Bichebois, Sabatier, and Émile Lassalle, after Bayot, Ménard (or Mesnard), J. Masselot, and Moerenhout; twenty-four tinted lithographed views and panoramas, by Sabatier, after Mary, and Ménard (or Mesnard); an engraved "Plan de la ville de Sydney en 1838;" and a large hand-colored folding lithographed "Carte générale du globe, sur laquelle est tracé l'itinéraire de la frégate."
Text volumes bound in contemporary quarter navy roan over navy morocco-grain paper-covered boards. Spines ruled, decoratively tooled, and lettered in gilt, with four slightly raised bands; sprinkled edges; marbled endpapers. Atlas volume bound in contemporary quarter green calf over green marbled boards with green vellum tips. Rebacked, with original spine laid down. Smooth spine ruled in gilt and blind with two black leather gilt lettering labels. Binding rubbed, with some scratch marks and surface loss to marbled paper. Some foxing and browning to both text volumes and atlas, the foxing mostly marginal in the atlas. An excellent set.
Please visit HA.com/6148 for an extended description of this lot.
"This voyage, ostensibly to report on the whale fisheries in the Pacific, was actually primarily political in nature. The presence of the frigate Vénus in ports around the world would be of value to French commerce and diplomacy. After rounding Cape Horn, the expedition made calls up the coast of South America, to Hawaii, Kamchatka, and to California, in order to assist French traders who had been clamoring for support for some time. Du Petit-Thouars's account of his stay in California in 1837 is one of the most important and complete records of the Mexican period in California. In 1838, the Vénus made a run for Easter Island, further investigated the coast of South America, then sailed for the Galápagos and Marquesas Islands, Tahiti, and New Zealand. At tahiti the expedition forced Queen Pomaré to write a letter to the King of France apologizing for mistreatment of French priests, and, further, to pay an indemnity and to salute the French flag. Du Petit-Thouars had also made a treaty with Kamehameha III of Hawaii. After visits to Sydney and Mauritius, the ship sailed home, arriving after a voyage of thirty months. Abel du Petit-Thouars, nephew of the famed French botanist Louis du Petit-Thouars (1758-1831), is credited with bringing the Marquesas under French protection (1842), as well as the Society Islands (1843), and he was made a vice-admiral in 1846. The present set consists of the four volumes of the Relation and the Atlas pittoresque of this voyage, essential the historical narrative. Another seven volumes of text and three more atlases, by other writers, were published later. These later volumes detailed the scientific observations of the voyage" (Hill).
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