Description

    Presentation Copy of Captain Cook's
    Last Voyage

    Captain James Cook and Captain James King. A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken, by the Command of His Majesty, for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere. ...Performed under the Direction of Captains Cook, Clerke, and Gore, in His Majesty's Ships the Resolution and Discovery. In the Years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, and 1780. In Three Volumes. Vol. I and II written by Captain James Cook, F.R.S. Vol. III by Captain James King, LL.D. and F.R.S. ...Published by Order of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. London: Printed by W. and A. Strahan, 1784. First edition. Presentation copy to William Christopher [1729-1797], who allegedly sailed with Captain Cook. Holograph ink inscription on first title page: "A Present from the Executors of Capt. Cook to Mr. Wm. Christopher/ Commander of one of the Hudson Bay Company's ships, for his/ assistance[?] + discoveries in the Hudson Bay, especially Chesterfield/ Inlet - A.D. 1784 - May 26th. Nine days before the Voyage comes out -". Holograph ink annotation on facing blank page, indicating references to Christopher in the introduction. Holograph ink presentation inscription on contents page: "Captn. H. Christopher/ presented by Mrs Wm. Christopher after the/ death of his Father."
    Three quarto volumes, lacking folio atlas volume with its sixty-three large plates and charts. xcvi, 421, [1, blank]: [12], 549, [1, blank]: [12], 558, [1 advertisement] pages. Twenty-four engraved plates and charts (some folding), folding table facing page 530 in Volume III. Bound in full tree calf with gilt rope patterned borders, board edges decorated with gilt lines, faded gilt decorations with leather title labels "Cook's/ Last/ Voyage" on spines. Boards rubbed, scuffed, and soiled, corners bumped and chipped, spines rubbed and chipped at ends, labels damaged with loss to title on volume two, some loss of leather backstrip, cracked joints and hinges. Second volume's front and rear boards coming loose. Third volume's front board detached, rear board coming loose, and spine with a vertical crack. First volume's endpapers bent and creased. Second volume's free endpapers loose. Ink presentation inscriptions on contents page of second volume and on title page of third volume: "Captn. H. Christopher/ presented by Mrs Wm. Christopher after/ the decease [?] of his Father." Light holograph pencil year calculations in the outer margin of first volume's page xlv. Pages lightly cockled, image offset from plates, varying degrees of foxing and browning, few small edge tears, folding plates with light fold wear and small fold separations, light creases, few corner bends, occasional soiling or stains; else internally in very good condition.
    Please visit HA.com/6148 for an extended description of this lot.


    More Information:

    William Christopher (1729 - 1797) was a Commodore of the Hudson Bay Company, who is alleged to have known and befriended Captain Cook. Two plaques, one in the memory of Cook and the other to the memory of Christopher, in the Parish Church of Stockton on Tees connects the two men and has Christopher travelling with Cook on his Third Voyage. However, there is no indication that Christopher actually sailed with Cook; and it is not clear why such claims were made.

    "Two thoughts spring to mind here. First, [Reverend John] Brewster, obviously a James Cook aficionado, was probably of the opinion that James Cook and William Christopher were from the same area, were of similar age, and would have been keenly aware of the bounty associated with the discovery of the North West Passage, the previous efforts of Henry Ellis's exploits in the Hudson Bay area in 1746-7 and his subsequent publication, Ellis's Voyage to Hudson Bay.

    "Secondly, William Christopher, a subscriber to the first edition, may have wished to promote his Stockton notability by association with the famed James Cook.

    "Within the privately published Christopher Family book, is a reference to the executors of Captain James Cook sending them 'some days before its publication, a handsomely-bound edition, in three volumes, of the Third Voyage, now an heirloom in the Christopher family'. It was still in the family possession in 1933.

    "Why, one wonders, if there was no connection between these two men, did the executors of James Cook, send these volumes? Without direct reference to a source, one can only speculate why the books were sent, but so pleasing to see they were cherished by the family.

    "Once James Cook became famous anyone and everyone claimed kinship or some other relationship with him and, of course, most claims are totally spurious. In this case, after all my searching to confirm some connection between the two mariners, I have found no evidence to support the claims made on the two brass plaques within the church." - Geoff King. William Christopher - Was He and James Cook Friends?

    Captain Cook Society website: http://www.captaincooksociety.com/home/detail/william-christopher-was-he-and-james-cook-friends



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    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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