London. 1772. xxviii,476pp. plus folding plate and five folding maps. Quarto. Contemporary mottled calf gilt,spine and hinges repaired.
First English edition, translated from the French by John Reinhold Forster, who calls this “a work written by a learned, intelligent, and judicious traveller, which abounds with remarkable events and curious observations….”
From the Malouines, Bougainville sailed west to South America and entered the Strait of Magellan. There he made some of the most important achievements of the voyage by mapping the Strait in detail, and describing specific harbors that could be used safely by future navigators. Systematic observations of longitude were recorded during the voyage and one of the expedition’s notable achievements was to improve the determination of longitude in navigation.
Bougainville first undertook, at his own expense, an expedition to the Falkland Islands and Patagonia to secure them for French colonization. To avoid potential conflict due to Spain’s envy of the acquisition, France gave up the territory to her. After delivering the Falklands to Spain, Bougainville was ordered across the Pacific to the East Indies, and from there to return home. The narrative of this part of the voyage comprises the text of the present volume. The completion of the three-year voyage marked the first official French circumnavigation and drew a good deal of French interest in the Pacific islands. The party collected much natural history information concerning the regions visited, with a chapter on that of the Falklands, as well as a history of their settlement. They stopped at many South Sea islands, among them Tahiti, and a long section on that island is included, as well as a vocabulary of the natives. Bougainville was in Buenos Aires when the order arrived for the expulsion of the Jesuits from Paraguay, which he describes in detail. From the Malouines, Bougainville sailed west to South America
This voyage also includes a survey intended to be used to acquire by force if necessary, some of Spain’s possessions on the coasts of Chile and Patagonia.
COX I, p.55. SABIN 6869. HILL 165. O’REILLY & REITMAN 285.