First collected edition, "considered by many to be the best" (Hill). 8vo. Handsomely bound in contemporary panelled calf. The spine with five raised bands, gilt-decorated compartments and red morocco title label lettered in gilt. Illustrated with 63 engraved maps and plates, many folding, and with engraved tailpieces throughout. Attractive contemporary armorial bookplate to the front pastedown of the fourth volume. A fine set, the bindings square and firm with just a small spot of loss to the leather on the upper cover of the fourth volume, and a minor scuff to the upper boards of the first and third. The contents with bookplates removed from the front pastedowns of the first three volumes, a little toning, occasional minor offsetting from the plates, and the odd minor mark to page margins are otherwise in excellent order and clean throughout. The plates remain uncommonly fresh and bright.
A most attractive set of Dampier's celebrated collection of voyages. Starting his career as a buccaneer seizing ships and raiding settlements on the Spanish Main, Dampier went on to become one of the most important British explorers of the period between Sir Walter Raleigh and James Cook. The first Englishman to explore parts of what is today Australia, and the first person to circumnavigate the world three times, through his exploits and writings he became a figure of significant cultural and scientific influence. Through his skill as a popular and thrilling storyteller he inspired both Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift (Dampier was the rescuer of Alexander Selkirk, the castaway who supposedly inspired Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, and it was his description of the aborigines at King Sound upon which Swift likely based his 'Yahoos' in Gulliver's Travels). Whilst his observations and analysis of natural history helped Alexander von Humboldt, Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin develop their scientific theories, particularly with regard to his notes on the Galápagos Islands and the Malay Peninsula. Perhaps most importantly, however, Dampier's voyages served to shape the development of British exploration through the following century, pioneering the subsequent British focus on the exploration of the Pacific, and with figures including James Cook, Horatio Nelson and William Bligh all drawing upon his discoveries and data. This first collected edition includes not only Dampier's accounts, but also the narratives of Wafer, Funnel, Hacke, Cowley, Sharp, Wood and Roberts. The publisher, Knapton, used the latest editions of each of the four volumes with a new general title-page, thus the first volume is in its "seventh edition, corrected" form, while the others are represented by third or fourth edition texts. [Hill 422; Sabin 18373].
Stock code: 18888