In four volumes. London: James and John Knapton, 1729. 4 vols. 8. (198 x 121mm). Sixty-three engraved maps and plates, many folding, engraved tail-pieces throughout, with title-pages to the seventh edition of Dampier’s A New Voyage round the World and the third edition of A Voyage to New-Holland in vols one and three respectively. Handsome unsophisticated contemporary mottled calf, with red morocco labels, lettered in gilt.
A PARTICULARLY HANDSOME SET OF THE COLLECTED EDITION OF DAMPIER’S VOYAGES
‘Generally considered the best’ (Sabin), including the narratives of Wafer, Sharp, Wood, Funnel and Hacke.
‘William Dampier combined a swashbuckling life of adventure with pioneering scientific achievements. In 1676, he started his career as a buccaneer preying on ships on the Spanish Main and struggling through the impenetrable jungle of the Isthmus of Panama in search of gold. He could easily have ended up on the gallows. Poor and obscure yet determined to sail the world to make his fortune, he was to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe three times. Among his many extraordinary achievements, Dampier mapped the winds and the currents of the world’s oceans for the first time. He inspired Darwin one hundred and fifty years later with his notes on the wildlife of the Galapagos islands and elsewhere. His portrait in London’s National Portrait Gallery shows a lean, strong-featured man with a thoughtful expression, brown shoulder-length hair and a plain coat, holding a book in his hand. He is styled ‘Pirate and Hydrographer’ but even that tells only part of his story. He was a pioneering navigator, naturalist , travel writer and explorer, as well as hydrographer who was, indeed, quite happy to seek his fortune as a pirate.’ Preston.
It was his descriptions of the aborigines at King Sound which probably inspired Swift’s ‘Yahoos’ in Gulliver’s Travels. Hill 422; Sabin 18373; cf. Borba de Moraes I, pp242-244.