London: C. Cooke, 1789. 2nd or 3rd edition. Hardcover. Likely to be an original subscriber's copy, listed as "Wilson - Crown Court, Broad St.", likely to be "John Wilson" whose red gilt leather ownership label is mounted into the front board, with special blind tooled lines surrounding it. A second or third edition, published between 1789 & 1791, according to research by Alan Frost published in the LaTrobe Journal of the State Library of Victoria, No. 8, 1971. A very bright unsophisticated copy of this work, which has become increasingly scarce. Ferguson 59 describes a 1 volume edition & cites only the Mitchell Library copy.
Many of the illustrations were derived from Cook's Voyages, and were the most generally available representations of the natives of the Pacific Northwest, Tasmania, New Zealand, Hawaii & the Pacific accessible to the public at the time. It is these contemporary images which make this work scarce as so many have been broken up.
Folio. Frontispiece, title page, (verso blank), (i) Royal Licence, (ii) Address to the Reader, (1)-990 Texts, etc. +2 pp Directions to the Binder, 2 pp A List of Subscribers, Complete with 90 plates & 22 maps (the map of Europe has been hand-colored, not unpleasantly but not professionally). Maps and plates are in very good + condition with no refolding or cracking which is usual in this work. Bound in period reversed calf, red gilt title label on spine. Matching early reverse calf strengthening of outer hinge, a couple of splits on leather of spine and very chipped at top and bottom, o/w a very nice copy.
"The geography books which appeared in the closing decades of the eighteenth century... are of considerable significance to students of the history of ideas, for the light they shed on English interest in geography and geographical exploration at the end of the eighteenth century. One of the most imposing of these usually quite imposing books is Thomas Bankes, Edward Warren Blake, and Alexander Cook's A New Royal Authentic and Complete System of Universal Geography. A massive folio volume this was a popular work, running to six editions in the ten years from 1787 to 1797."(Frost, Thomas Bankes’s Complete System, The La Trobe Journal, 1971). Item #14263