London: Printed for G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1786. First English Edition. Hardcover. Important work by leading scientist and explorer who accompanied Captain James Cook on his second voyage of discovery.
Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-1798), author and naturalist, was born in Prussia. He moved to England in 1766, eventually producing pamphlets on natural history. His acquaintance with Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander allowed him to be elected fellow of the Royal Society; another influential acquaintance got him the position of scientist on Captain Cook's second voyage, when Banks withdrew. It was Forster who convinced Andreas Sparrman, who was exploring South African natural history at Cape Town, to join the expedition.
The volume consists of Books I, II & III. Book III, 'Discoveries Made in the North in Modern Times', Section XXXVII pertains to Cook's last voyage. Forster writes about the naming of Bering's Straits, the ice which prevented any further travel north, and the return to the Sandwich Islands, "which he had discovered just before his arrival on this coast". The death of Cook is described: "the young men that were with him must have been in some measure undisciplined and disorderly, otherwise he would not have lost his life". (p404).
Large 4to, xvi, 489pp, Index, two folding maps. LACKING the last page of the Index and the General Map of Asia. Includes the two other large folding maps, the North Pole (frontispiece) and of Europe (p74), both by Forster. Full calf, with raised bands, gilt rules at spine. Manuscript paper title label on spine. Boards rubbed and worn, calf pulling away from foredge at front board. Spine rubbed, small perforation about three inches from base. Inner hinge starting. Sabin; 25138. OCLC: 228756275. Very good overall. Item #20627